facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Dolphin calls may give language clues

Feb. 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM   |   Comments

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Dolphins mimic calls of those they share a social bond with, findings that could give insights into human language and communication, British researchers say.

Biologists from the University of St Andrews in Scotland studying the vocal signatures of the mammals sat they found dolphins can mimic the distinct whistles of their closest companions and offspring as a way of tracking them

It has been known dolphins develop their own individual whistle, and the new study suggests they can also mimic the calls of those dolphins they want to stay close to.

The St. Andrews researchers, working with U.S. scientists in Florida to study dolphins in the state's Sarasota Bay, found the mimicking was only present in mothers and their offspring and in adult males who copied calls of those they had long-term associations with.

"Interestingly, this mimicking only occurs in animals who have strong social bonds," St. Andrews researcher Stephanie King told the BBC.

"It also only occurs when they are separated from each other, and this supports the idea that they want to reunite with the other animals."

Dolphin mimicking may offer an insight into the way complex language structures evolve, the researchers said.

"It is something we see in ourselves, but not in other animals," King said.

"This could give us a real insight into how certain traits in language and communication have evolved."

Topics: St Andrews
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Weather Channel disavows co-founder's climate change denial Weather Channel disavows co-founder's climate change denial
2
Study: Earth has had water since birth of solar system Study: Earth has had water since birth of solar system
3
You can't get to Mars, but your name can You can't get to Mars, but your name can
4
Endangered gray wolf may have been sighted at Grand Canyon Endangered gray wolf may have been sighted at Grand Canyon
5
SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback