Learning Dolphin Lingo - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/09/04

Learning Dolphin Lingo

Jill and her baby Kaitlin are two of the four guinea pigs in Marine Life 's research. They live with two other babies in the same tank. Dolphins live in communities and biologists are trying to figure out what makes them tick in captivity.

"It's very important to learn how these animals transfer their various skills through communicating with their young ones and how that is done is really unknown and this project will let us know how the learning is going on," Marine Life Director Dr. Moby Solangi says.

We can't understand dolphin lingo. So students and biologists are taking a closer look at how mother and baby talk to each other, and act around one another.

"These relationships with the mother calf are extremely important and we are finding out that they start from birth and they continue going on for the rest of their lives. The first six months is an extremely important aspect for their ability to deal with complex challenges in the wild."

Dr. Solangi says he hopes to get some answers as to how captive dolphins communicate, as well as those in the wild.

"This is a very significant piece of research because these animals communicate through sound. If there's a lot of noise in the wild, these animals won't be able to communicate with each other. And if mother and calves cannot communicate, their survival is at stake."

The dolphin research is expected to last another six months. Marine Life will publish the findings to share with other marine institutes.

byMarcia Hill

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