Bottlenose Dolphins give each other names by calling out to each other in individual whistling tunes.

Bottlenose Dolphin   © Flip Nicklin

Out in the pristine waters of Sarasota bay in Florida, scientists from Mote Marine Lab have spent the past thirty years studying the local residents – Bottlenose Dolphins.
They noticed these mammals communicate to one another using distinctive whistles. Forming abstract names for individuals is unheard of in the animal kingdom beyond people.

The researchers say bottlenose dolphins don’t swim in the wild with their own families. Instead they make long term friendships with dolphins from other families.  And they’ve learned by using these distinctive whistles the dolphins can keep in touch with their friends and make new ones. Another very important tool for this type of communication is when hunting and orientating in dark murky waters. The dolphins maintain group cohesion and stay in contact with one another to coordinate their activities.

« »