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Last Updated: Monday October 25 2010 05:29 GMT

Wild dolphins spotted using tail fins to walk on water

Dolphin 'tail walking'

Dolphins learn to walk on water

A group of dolphins have been spotted using their tail fins to walk on water in the wild.

Scientists were surprised to see four calves tail-walking, off the Australian coast, because it's usually something that only dolphins in captivity do.

They think the calves may have copied the skill from an adult dolphin called Billie, who is thought to have learnt it during a short stay at a theme park.

Dr Mike Bossley believes the behaviour shows how clever the mammals are.

He said it also showed the similarities between humans and dolphins.

Scientists don't think that tail walking helps the dolphins with hunting and is more likely to be an example of them playing - a bit like humans dancing or doing gymnastics.