So I said to this dolphin …

Fascinating research on how dolphins develop ‘speech’

Once again, I am indebted to Yves Smith for posting a link in the edition of Naked Capitalism published on the 1st October that really caught my eye.  This follows nicely after my piece a couple of days ago about how the stray dogs in Moscow are learning new ways to survive.

It was a piece on the BBC Earth website about how dolphins attempt to learn the language of other dolphin groups.

The BBC article starts thus:

Just magnificent

When two dolphin species come together, they attempt to find a common language, preliminary research suggests.

Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins, two distantly related species, often come together to socialise in waters off the coast of Costa Rica.

Both species make unique sounds, but when they gather, they change the way they communicate, and begin using an intermediate language.

That raises the possibility the two species are communicating in some way.

Biologist Dr Laura May-Collado of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan made the discovery studying dolphins swimming in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge of the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Later the article says:

As yet, Dr May-Collado cannot be sure if both species are changing the way they communicate, or whether it is one species attempting to call more like the other.

That is because her sound equipment could only record the total calls produced by mixed species groups of dolphins, and could not separate out sounds made by individuals.

“This limits how much I can say about how much they are communicating,” says Dr May-Collado.

However, dolphins are known to have an extraordinary ability to change their calls when ‘talking’ to other individuals, or to ensure they are heard over the din of background noise pollution.

So “I wouldn’t be surprised that they can modify their signals to mimic, and even possibly communicate with other species. Particularly when their home ranges force them to interact on a daily basis, which is the case of this study,” she says.

Read the full piece here or access details of the publication here.

And, finally, enjoy this:

By Paul Handover

One thought on “So I said to this dolphin …

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