The Dolphins Eavesdrop on each other to avoid bad Run-Ins

You will think of it much easier to spot a dolphin in a Risso. The species regularly goes to almost every coast in the world. Their hairy heads and hard gray and white pattern make them some of the most recognizable creatures of the ocean. And like other cetaceans, they travel in groups and constantly chitchat: Clicks, buzzes, and whistles help them understand their underwater life. Their social world is a sonic.

“It’s kind of a very loud voice,” he added Charlotte died, an expert in bioacoustics. “Sound is important to them.”

Curé works for France’s Joint Research Unit on Environmental Acoustics, where he learns how cetaceans use the sounds around them to make intelligent decisions. Dolphins are known communicate directly to each other, and to find their prey before hitting. But many years ago, he wondered if they could also get messages from other dolphins that weren’t for them.

But the problem is, even if the dolphins talk, neither does Curé Fleur Visser, his colleague and Risso’s ethics expert, spoke the language. So instead of thinking about what the dolphins were saying, they focused their attention on how they were. actions. In their experiment, Curé’s group tested how dolphins responded when researchers parked their boats on top and played these socially recorded noises from other groups.

After four years of field study, Curé’s group reported their results: the first evidence of cetaceans eavesdropping on each other and using that information to decide where to swim next. For example, social records of males, known to harass females, calves, and antagonists of other males, alienate most dolphins. Their study showed last month at Identifying Animals.

The work is a masterclass in animal espionage, coordinated by Caroline Casey, a marine sound mammal communication expert from UC Santa Cruz who was not involved in the study. “It’s like humans,” he says of the dolphins eavesdropping. “And I love when experiments can show what’s clear to us, but it’s not shown in an animal that’s easily imitated.”

After all, even if Risso’s dolphins are easy to spot, it’s even harder to hear their secrets. But because cetaceans are so intelligent and language -dependent, studies of their communication can help us understand the origin of our own language. More practically, knowing how to attract and repel these dolphins suggests a new tool for their storage.

Dolphins don’t just noise, nosy animals. Scientists have confirmed that male red-winged blackbirds, colliding in territory, think of each other’s fights to measure the attack of a potential rival. The female famous titb songbird explores the male singing contests, then deception of their spouses with more dominant tweeters. Birds and pound also eavesdrop when looking for mate and food. In each case, the researchers suspected that the voices with the voice triggered some known behavior. So to test how the animals responded, the researchers played a recording of the sounds on a speaker and saw what happened.

But Curé’s group is investigating about animal communication that takes place below sea level, and that’s even more mysterious. Until about a decade ago, researchers did not have the right tools to prove that so many marine mammals could hear distant speech and react. “Now we have the equipment,” Curé said. With a boat sailing underwater speaker, the researchers used drones to track movement from overhead as well as tags-suction-cupped acoustic sensors-to mark their test subjects.

They followed about 14 individual dolphins and groups of dolphins they had tagged off the coast of Terceira Island, in the Azores. Dolphins usually swim in a straight line. But Curé thinks that the sounds that reveal society’s information can be distorted. Sitting aboard the “playback vessel,” he cites three types of sounds. One is the clicks and buzzes of dolphins searching — a “dinner bell” that is believed to be an attractive signal to swim others. Other recordings show social whistles and “Exploded wrist” sounds of men, thought to be a threatening signal that can drive women away and compete with men. They also played down the conversation from the females and calves, which was thought to be neutral.

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