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Student lends an ear to Welsh-speaking dolphins

Distinct 'dialect' to their Irish cousins

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Dolphins living off the coast of Wales have their own distinct "dialect", a University of Wales student has discovered.

As part of his master's thesis, Ronan Hickey analysed 1,882 whistles from dophins in Cardigan Bay and Ireland's Sannon Bay, Reuters reports. In the process, he found "32 different sound categories, of which eight were only produced by the Shannon animals".

Simon Berrow from the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation, who oversaw Hickey's research, said the two separate environments "might have contributed to the mammals developing distinctive sets of vocalisations or dialects", adding: "The idea that the sounds are different is not a bad notion - you'd expect the information had to be different given the diversity of the areas where they reside." ®

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