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Hello, My Name is Bob

Posted by Failed Success on 05/18/06 at 09:22 PM

DolphinsCould a series of dolphin whistles actually be names like “Bob”, “Frank”, or “Joe”?

Of all the extremely important and beneficial scientific research completed in the past few years, very little can match the sheer weight and magnitude of the concept of dolphin names.

Dolphins, after all, are one of the most intelligent creatures on the face of the earth; and it would be a shame to suffer their fiery wrath as they wrestle control of the planet from the humans, simply because we didn’t address them by their proper names. It was the researchers’ aim to nullify this weakness.

Since 1991, Researchers have believed that dolphins could call out their own names and recognize other names due to the fact that each dolphin has a unique and distinct vocalization.

Now, after a three year study funded by the Royal Society of London; St Andrews University researchers studying in Florida discovered bottlenose dolphins used distinct names, rather than random sounds, to identify each other.

“The challenge was to show experimentally that the animals can use these independent voice features as signature whistles,” said Vincent Janik of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Dolphins“We captured wild dolphins using nets when they came near the shore. Then in the shallow water we recorded their whistles before synthesising them on a computer so that we had a computer voice of a dolphin.”

Dr. Janik continued, “We played it back to the dolphins and we found they responded. This showed us that the dolphins know each other’s signature whistle instead of just the voice. I think it is a very exciting discovery because it means that these animals have evolved the same abilities as humans. Now we know they have labels for each other like we do.”

Scientists don’t know why dolphins choose the call signs that they do, although a male may be more likely to compose a whistle that sounds like his mom’s. They also don’t know why the dolphin’s seem to be so self-centered and appear to enjoy their names and use them frequently.

I’m guessing that it’s because “Bob” is a lot easier to say than Tursiops truncates!

Further Reading:

- “Dolphins Have Their Own Names” at BBC News
- “Dolphins Name Themselves with Whistles” at National Geographic
- “Bob’s in the Picture” in Newsweek May 22, 2006

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Previous Comments

  1. wtf is going o they cant talk they just eat sleep and mate lol

    Posted by ass muncher  on  03/02/09  at  02:42 PM
  2. my name is bob thonpson

    Posted by bob  on  01/20/09  at  08:30 AM