• Sat, Mar 9 2013

Turns Out Dolphins Use ‘Abstract Names’

dolphins

According to the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, dolphins not only refer to each other by specific “abstract names,” but they also pattern their whistles after their friends, just like we do in college when we’re not sure what identity to have yet and the girl down the hall seems to have everything figured out so why not just do that.

Wells, of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, worked with scientists from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, the Chicago Zoological Society and the Walt Disney World Resort, on the study of what they call “vocal copying” in dolphins. It was published last month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Each dolphin produces its own unique signature whistle that describes its individual identity,” the researchers said in a University of St. Andrews press release. “The new study suggests that in fact dolphins are mimicking those they are close to and want to see again.”

“Oh, I thought you and L’y'y~ were like, really close?”

“I wouldn’t say really close. Medium close. I mean, we swim in the same direction a lot, but that’s it. I helped her with this school of cod like, once, a few months ago.”

“Oh, right, right. Huh.”

“Why do you ask?”

“I just – and I don’t want to make it sound like I’m prying or trying to like, spread any kind of false behavior or anything like that – it seems like, or I guess I’ve noticed lately, that it seems like she’s been copying a lot of your vocal patterns? Like whistling the way you whistle.”

Really.”

“Sorry. Should I not have told you that? I feel like I shouldn’t have told you that.”

“No, no, I’m glad you told me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Look, I have to go.”

“Okay. Okay. I hope everything’s okay.”

“Yeah, it’ll be fine.”

“You sure?”

“I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay. Okay. Bye.”

“Yeah, you too.”

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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