Turns out, dolphins do have a real sense of porpoise.
Scientists working with the mammals at at Parc Astérix, a marine park near Paris, have determined that despite being in captivity, dolphins seem to appreciate their interactions with a familiar human being.
“We wanted to find out what activities in captivity they like most,” researcher Isabella Clegg told the BBC.
Clegg let the dolphins have some toys, play with trainers or find an activity on their own.
“We found a really interesting result,” Clegg said. “All dolphins look forward most to interacting with a familiar human.”
The dolphins would also increase their level of activity in the pool and spend more time at the edge, she said.
The study was commissioned to help French authorities determine whether it is right or wrong to hold dolphins in captivity.
The French government recently overturned a proposed ban on the captive breeding of dolphins in marine parks such as Parc Astérix.
“I think that wild dolphins are happier in the wild, and captive-born dolphins are much happier in captivity,” Birgitta Mercera, who runs the theme park’s dolphinarium.