Monday, 4 October 2010

Dolphin Species Attempt 'Common Language' - BBC

photo credit L. May-Collado

At first I thought this was really exciting and cute, but once I realized the dolphins were actually trying to beat each other up...not so much.

Nevertheless, two separate dolphin species in Costa Rica have been heard attempting to communicate with each other. Bottlenose and Guyana dolphins each make their own distinct sounds and could be said to have their own "languages" - though the extent of their communication abilities is not yet known. As the two dolphin populations come together in Costa Rican waters, they alter their languages and can be heard making noises halfway between one dialect and the other.

"I was surprised by these findings, as I was expecting both species to emphasise, perhaps exaggerate, their species-specific signals," Dr May-Collado told the BBC. "Instead the signals recorded during these encounters became more homogenous. "This was a very exciting discovery."

It's unclear exactly why this is happening - or even if both species are involved. It could just be one species or the other trying to alter their language in order to get a message across. Interactions are usually confrontational, so it's possible that one species is trying to frighten away the other by mimicking their dialect.

Full article here (BBC)

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