Dolphins communicate more like humans than previously thought
Sep 12, 2011
New studies have indicated that dolphins "talk" similarly to the way that humans do, using tissue vibrations, Wired Science reports. Previous research had suggested that dolphins whistle as a means of communication.
Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark re-analyzed recordings of dolphins made in the 1970s, focusing on the animal's whistle. They believed that it was produced by the way that air resonated in the dolphin's nasal air cavities. However, they found that the "whistle" they had identified before was not a whistle at all, but a sound produced by tissue vibrations like a human voice, the news source reports.
The biologists found that a dolphin breathes in a "heliox" mixture of 80 percent helium and 20 percent oxygen, which would make humans sound like Donald Duck because its sound speed is nearly two times higher than normal air, according to Daily Tech.
The research team believes this finding is true across all toothed whales because they have the same nasal anatomy, the news source reports. While still unclear what exactly the animals are saying to one another, scientists report that they share identity-related information that helps them stay together when traveling.