Scientists find out that dolphins 'talk' like humans

Dolphins are amazing as we all know and love about them. But recent research has shown that dolphins actually "talk" to each other using a process very similar to the way that humans communicate. The study found that the sounds of dolphins are produced by tissue vibrations which is similar to the operation of vocal folds by humans. Land animals also communicate in this manner. What may sound like dolphins whistling to our ears is not actually that.

When dolphins dive, their air cavities are compressed due to the increasing ambient pressure. The dolphins breathe in a "heliox" mixture when diving. This mixture consists of 80 percent helium and 20 percent oxygen — which when applied to humans causes them to sound like Donald Duck. The reason is because the mixture has a sound speed that's 1.74 times higher than normal air. If a human whistles after breathing in helium, the pitch of the tune will then be 1.74 times higher than whistling after just breathing in air. But it was found that dolphins do not change pitch when producing sound in heliox. This means that it's pitch is not defined by the size of its nasal air cavities, and therefore it is not whistling.

Instead a dolphin makes sound by making connective tissue in the nose vibrate at the frequency it wishes to produce. It does this by adjusting the muscular tension and air flow over the tissue which is the same way humans use their vocal cords to speak. It is now also believed that this finding may apply to all toothed whales since they have similar nasal anatomy and they face the same problem of making sound during deep dives. As for what the dolphins are actually communicating, it is known that they share information about their identity, helping them to stay connected even while traveling in vast bodies of water.

An instrument known as the CymaScope was developed by acoustics engineer John Stuart Reid and Jack Kassewitz of the organization Speak Dolphin. This instrument can reveal detailed structures within sounds, allowing their architecture to be studied pictorially. This may allow us someday to decipher the meaning of dolphin calls much like interpreting Egyptian hieroglyphics. Dolphins produce whistle -like sounds, chirps and click trains, suggesting they engage in very complex and sophisticated social interactions. As there is strong evidence that dolphins can "see" with sound, the CymaScope will also provide a glimpse into what the dolphins might be actually "seeing" with their sounds.

This exciting research may actually allow humans to understand what the dolphins are communicating with each other and therefore someday we might be able to communicate back to them. What an interesting day that will be.

Dolphins don't whistle, but communicate using a method that's similar to the way humans talk.

VIDEO: dolphins 'talk' like humans

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