Scientists unravel 'dolphinese' chatter
2007 12 19

By Craig Brown | news.scotsman.com


Scientists have finally unravelled the meaning of squeaks and whistles that make up dolphin "speech".

According to the Australian researchers who have picked up "dolphinese", the language shows the animals are more similar to humans that previously thought.

The scientists identified almost 200 different whistles that the dolphins make to communicate, and linked some to specific behaviours.

Biologist Dr Liz Hawkins and her colleagues listened to the chatter of wild bottlenose dolphins off the western coast of Australia for three years.

Dr Hawkins, of the whale research centre at Southern Cross University, New South Wales, said: "This communication is highly complex, and it is contextual, so in a sense it could be termed a language."

Dolphins were known to use "signature" whistles to identify themselves to others, but the meaning of the other whistles they make was a mystery.

Dr Hawkins recorded 1,647 whistles from 51 different groups of dolphins living in Byron Bay, New South Wales.

The biologist, who presented her work at a meeting of the Society for Marine Mammalogy in Cape Town, grouped all the whistles into five tonal classes and found that these groups, and even individual whistles, clearly went with different behaviours.

Dr Melinda Rekdahl, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, said it was too early to know whether whistles might mean something specific, but added: "It is possible. Dolphin communication is much more complicated than we thought."

The research, the scientists claim, will lead to a reassessment of the social complexity of dolphins, raising moral questions over how those kept in captivity should be treated.

Article from: http://news.scotsman.com/scitech/Scientists-unravel-39dolphinese39-chatter.3602514.jp



Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills. I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
More News »