Marine biologists discovered that dolphins speak to one another. It seems that the marine mammals have their own language made out of a mixture of whistles and pulses. The discovery is not a surprise seeing as scientists were already aware of the fact that dolphins communicate among themselves.
According to the new study, the marine mammals use a combination of whistles and pulses to communicate with one another. The researchers managed to identify individual sentences that were constructed with several words, thus proving that the animals already have a vocabulary.
The researchers conducted the study on a pair of captive dolphins. The scientists observed that the two mammals seemed to communicate with each other. After further analysis, they managed to isolate particular signals emitted by the two participants in the conversation.
“The dolphins took turns in producing ‘sentences’ and did not interrupt each other, which gives reason to believe that each of the dolphins listened to the other’s pulses before producing its own,” Vyacheslav Ryabov, the lead researcher, declared.
Ryabov is the senior researcher at the T.I. Vyazemsky Scientific Station located in Feodosia, a small Crimean port town.
Yana and Yasha, the female and male dolphins used in the study, are Black Sea bottlenose dolphins. The pair has been sharing the same concrete pool for over 20 years. Both have normal hearing.
In order to record all the sounds made by the two animals, the team used a two channel system with a very wide frequency rate. The scientists managed to identify several individual non-coherent pulses emitted by each dolphin. It seems that each pulse was used in a certain way by the two dolphins, thus suggesting that one individual pulse was the equivalent of a word.
“The set of spectral components in each pulse is a ‘word’ of the dolphin’s spoken language, and a pack of non-coherent pulses is a ‘sentence,’” Ryabov declared.
The cited paper was published on the 21st of August in the Physics and Mathematics journal, a magazine belonging to the Polytechnic University of St. Petersburg, Russia.
The clinical coordinator of the Aquatic Animal Health Program at the University of Florida, Michael Walsh, declared that the study is an important discovery in the quest for decoding the acoustic signals of marine mammals.
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