It has long been known that dolphins are some of the brightest wild creatures on the planet, but it wasn’t until recently that researchers from the Karadag Nature Reserve in Feodosia, Ukraine, were able to have the rare opportunity to record what sounded like a distinct conversation between two of the intelligent marine mammals.
Image Credit: WWF
It has never actually been proven that dolphins have a spoken language for communicating with one another because it’s exceedingly rare that we get any opportunity to observe it in person, but interestingly, this conversation went back and forth and scientists were able to capture all of it.
In the journal Physics and Mathematics, the researchers describe a series of pulses and whistles that were heard between two Black Sea bottle nose dolphins inside of a pool, which combined with clicks and some other varying sounds, can create distinct forms of language or even complete sentences that can be understood by other dolphins.
According to the study, the speaking going on between two dolphins sounds very similar to that of echolocation, except that the sounds are far shorter than an echolocation cry would be, suggesting they’re being used for another purpose.
Moreover, there were patterns in the noises depending on what the dolphin was doing at each point in time, suggesting that perhaps certain sounds are attributed to certain actions, just like we attribute words to specific objects or actions.
“Essentially, this exchange resembles a conversation between two people,” writes lead author Dr Vyacheslav Ryabov. “The fundamental difference between the dolphin exchange of information and the human conversation is in the characteristics of the acoustic signals of their spoken language.”
“Each pulse that is produced by dolphins is different from another by its appearance in the time domain and by the set of spectral components in the frequency domain. In this regard, we can assume that each pulse represents a phoneme or a word of the dolphin's spoken language," he continued."
“The analysis of numerous pulses registered in our experiments showed that 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.
Are dolphins capable of talking to one another? The obvious answer to the question would be yes, but we have yet to really study dolphin conversation in depth. Further research may help us to understand what they’re trying to communicate.
Source: The Telegraph