Dolphins Essay

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Here's a conversation worth talking about: A mother dolphin chats with her baby…over the telephone! The special call was made in an aquarium in Hawaii, where the mother and her two-year-old calf swam in separate tanks connected by a special underwater audio link. The two dolphins began squawking and chirping to each other—distinctive dolphin chatter. Cracking the Code "It seemed clear that they knew who they were talking with," says Don White, whose Project Delphis ran the experiment. "Information was passing back and forth pretty quickly." But what were they saying? That's what scientists are trying to find out by studying wild and captive dolphins all over the world to decipher their secret language. They haven't completely cracked the code yet, but they're listening…and learning. Chatty Mammals In many ways, you are just like the more than 30 species of dolphins that swim in the world's oceans and rivers. Dolphins are mammals, like you are, and must swim to the surface to breathe air. Just as you might, they team up in pods, or groups, to accomplish tasks. And they're smart. They also talk to each other. Starting from birth, dolphins squawk, whistle, click, and squeak. "Sometimes one dolphin will vocalize and then another will seem to answer," says Sara Waller, who studies bottlenose dolphins off the California coast. "And sometimes members of a pod vocalize in different patterns at the same time, much like many people chattering at a party." And just as you gesture and change facial expressions as you talk, dolphins communicate nonverbally through body postures, jaw claps, bubble blowing, and fin caresses. Thinking Dolphin Scientists think dolphins "talk" about everything from basic facts like their age to their emotional state. "I speculate that they say things like 'there are some good fish over here,' or 'watch out for that shark because he's hunting,'" says

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