“There are several explanations for this behavior,” Allen said. “It could be gift giving, it could simply be to attract and hold the female’s attention, it could be a signal of his quality as a mate, or it could be a form of threat to coerce her into mating with him.”
Naomi Rose, a marine mammal biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute, told The Dodo that, while people are quick to compare dolphins to humans, highly social behavior like this isn’t that unusual in the animal kingdom.
“It’s not that there are some animals that are like humans, but rather there are several species that share certain complex social traits with humans,” she explained. “Humans actually aren’t all that unique after all.”