For the first time, researchers have recorded a couple of dolphins having a conversation. They used an underwater microphone, which they developed, that could discern the animals’ individual “voices”.
It has been known for decades that dolphins and whales have an advanced mode of communication—distinctive whistles and clicks that express excitement, happiness, anxiety or separation from a group.
But now researchers have shown how dolphins form “words” by altering volume and frequency of pulsing clicks. These are then strung together into “sentences” similar to that of human speech, and they politely listen to each other, not interrupting the speaker before replying.
This communication was recorded by Ukrainian scientists working with two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, named Yana and Yasha, at the Karadag Nature Reserve in Feodosia.
Lead researcher of the study published in the journal Mathematics and Physics, Dr Vyacheslav Ryabov, said: “Essentially, this exchange resembles a conversation between two people.
“This language exhibits all the design features present in the human spoken language. This indicates a high level of intelligence and consciousness in dolphins, and their language can be ostensibly considered a highly developed spoken language, akin to the human language.”
In fact, for more than 25 million years, dolphins have been swimming around with larger and more complex brains than people. While the scientists found that the dolphin pair could create sentences of up to five “words”, we still do not understand what they are saying.
Ryabov said, “Humans must take the first step to establish relationships with the first intelligent inhabitants of the planet Earth by creating devices capable of overcoming the barriers that stand in the way of using languages and in the way of communications between dolphins and people.”