Monthly Archives: February 2013

Dolphins Can Call Each Other By Name

A study by the University of St. Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit has found out that bottle nose dolphins are one of the few known species to be able to call each other by name. Previous research on dolphins found that they had the capability of naming themselves with a unique call that allowed others to identify them. The new study, by marine biologists at the University of St Andrews, showed that dolphins only copy those that they share strong social bonds with.

” A dolphin emits its signature whistle to broadcast its identity and announce its presence, allowing animals to identify one another over large distances and for animals to recognize one another and to join up with each other,” lead author Stephanie King told Discovery News. “Dolphin whistles can be detected up to 20 km away (12.4 miles) depending on water depth and whistle frequency.”

It was already known that dolphins develop their own individual whistle which describes their identity. The team of Scottish and American scientists analysed recordings from wild and captive dolphins to identify which animals copy one another’s signature whistle.

Dr King added, “The fact that animals are producing whistle copies when they are separated from a close associate supports the idea that dolphins copy another animal’s signature whistle when they want to reunite with that specific individual.” Which is much more straight forward than my childhood would have had me believe.