Scientists discover dolphins have ‘names’
With a reputation for being some of the friendliest and most intelligent animals out there, dolphins have done it yet again! In a recent four-month study carried out by researchers at the St. Andrews University, dolphins were found to be using names for each other. Not the ‘Tim’, ‘Jim’, ‘Flipper’, kind - but it seems they have signature whistles that they use to identify one another.
During the study, the researchers recorded and played the signature whistles of the group of dolphins, along with various other whistles - including those of animals the dolphins had never seen in their lives. They found that the dolphins only responded when they heard their own signature whistle, by whistling back. If the whistle was of a dolphin from a different pod, they all ignored it.
No two whistles are alike, and it is not known how the young dolphins get their ‘names’. Scientists are not sure if dolphins can use other whistles to refer to other species and abstract concepts.
This is believed to be the first time animals have been documented using names in the wild. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. I love how this opens up a whole new world of questions and secrets when it comes to animal communication — maybe one day - one day - we’ll even be able to understand what they’re talking about!