Dolphins Name Themselves via Whistle
This is really, really cool. According to Stephanie King and Vincent Janik of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Dolphins are even smarter than we used to think (and we used to think that were really, really smart).
Bottlenose dolphins have been shown to respond and answer to high-pitched bursts of sound, but here’s the kicker - each individual dolphin only responds to one specific sound, it’s “signature whistle.”
This whistle is a distinct tune that each dolphin develops for itself and then broadcasts to others, it seems to act as a sort of nametag - the dolphin effectively devises its own name and then tells other dolphins what they’ve come up with.
When scientists played each dolphin’s “signature whistle” to them, the dolphin responded back with the same whistle - and they didn’t respond at all when they were played another dolphin’s signature.
Scientists had previously known that dolphins exchange signatures when first meeting each other, but now we know that they also respond to these same whistles at later times.
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