Dolphins may have names for each other.
A new study shows that dolphins might be able to refer to each other using specific sounds like names to call attention to specific individual dolphins.
Biologists from the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland studied the communication patterns of bottlenose dolphins, using many decades worth of recordings and found that dolphins copy each other’s whistling noises, creating a system of communication.
The back and forth noises of dolphins may show something called referential communication which uses learned signals, rather than instinctual sounds, to signify objects and individuals, which is something that only humans were thought to do naturally.
Some scientists, like Robert Barton from Durham University in England, are not convinced.
Barton wrote “Although it may be tempting to jump to the most cognitively remarkable and anthropomorphic interpretations consistent with the data, further careful experiments together with objective interpretations of their implications will be paramount.”
Dolphins are thought to be extremely intelligent based on the size of their brains relative to the rest of their body.
Discovery News says that they are believed to be the second smartest animals on the planet after humans.
What do you think? Can dolphins refer to each other by name?