Many people know how intelligent dolphins are, but a new study
by researchers in the United Kingdom shows that they use unique calls to introduce themselves to other members of their species, Science Magazine
Previous studies have showed the ways dolphins can understand human language, and now humans are learning to understand that of the animals. In 2004, researchers noted that a group of wild bottlenose dolphins in Florida used the calls, known as signature whistles, and how they understand that the calls are used to identify specific individuals.
"Dolphins are comparable to great apes in their cognitive skills, but all we know is what they do in a lab," said marine biologist Vincent Janik, of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews. "We wanted to understand how dolphins use their intelligence outside of the tasks that humans set for them."
Following a group of bottlenose dolphins around the eastern coast of Scotland, the researchers recorded the calls of the wild animals
with underwater microphones. They observed that the dolphins used signature whistles when meeting up with another group, giving the distinctive whistle only when they axctually mingled with the other mammals - of the 11 "conversations" recorded, nine resulted in the groups joining together. Only once did groups join without a whistle, leading researchers to believe that it is a type of introduction.