Friday, August 18, 2006

Killer whales kiss and make up after squabbles

Despite the fearsome name, killer whales seem to be a model for peaceful reconciliation after disagreements.

According to scientist Michael Noonan, killer whales kiss and make up after fighting. Maybe there's a lesson for humans in the behavior of these fearsome and toothy beasts that could tear each other apart.

The make up period for killer whales consists of 6-10 minutes of synchronized side-by-side swimming. Killer whales now join primates as examples of animals with specific peacemaking behaviors.

Noonan thinks we can use killer whales to study the evolution of peacemaking in complex societies. Perhaps there are lessons here for there a place for court-ordered synchronized swimming to help feuding people soothe and settle?

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