Feeds

Boffins: Dolphins call each other NAMES. Not RUDE ones!

'Oy! Whistle-squeak-whistle! Get your ass over here'

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Boffins have piled on yet more evidence that dolphins call each other by name when they whistle to each other.

Dolphins play in the water

Scientists have reckoned for some time that dolphins have a unique whistle that acts as a distinctive name.

Research by marine biologists Stephanie King and Vincent Janik from the University of St Andrews already figured out that the mammals can learn the signature whistles of close friends and family and use those in conversation. But now the boffins have proved that dolphins definitely respond to their own names.

"Animals have been found to use calls to label predators or food but these calls are inherited and not influenced by learning," King said. "The use of new or learned sounds to label things is rare in the animal kingdom. However, it is ubiquitous in human society and at the heart of human language."

The marine bioboffins followed groups of wild dolphins and recorded them whistling each others' names. They then played the recordings on underwater speakers against control whistles of either an unfamiliar animal from another group or another dolphin in the same population to see if the named creature responded. Each dolphin only reacted when it heard its own whistle, calling its own name back to "answer".

"Our results present the first case of naming in mammals, providing a clear parallel between dolphin and human communication," Jankik said, adding that parrots are the only other animal to show any evidence of learning new sounds to label things.

The study, Bottlenose dolphins can use learned vocal labels to address each other, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?
Two places available in the chase plane above the desert
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.