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3 Paternity Lab:  Who’s Your Daddy?

When observing social animals in the wild or even trying to manage them in a zoo or aquarium, it can be difficult to discern parentage.  DNA analysis can open a view into the reproductive habits of individuals that are not always apparent.  In this activity, you will make some observations of a group of bottlenose dolphins and determine who the father really is based on their shared DNA. 

A note about this species…

Bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, are carnivorous marine mammals that live along coasts of temperate and tropical waters.  They are social animals, living in groups of females and calves.  Males, however, live in a bonded pair with another male and both venture into the female groups during breeding season.  They have proven to be highly intelligent and use a variety of forms of communication.  Zoos have been quite successful in maintaining and breeding these beautiful creatures and these zoo specimens have taught us volumes about how they live in the wild.

Bottlenose Dolphin

ACTIVITY 3 - Paternity Lab:  Who’s Your Daddy? (pdf file)

VIDEO 3 – Zoo Genetics Section 3 Dolphins