Dolphins call each other by name

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dolphinFIFE, SCOTLAND – We may call him Flipper; but his dolphin friends call him something that sounds more like a whistle.

We know dolphins use an array of whistles, clicks and buzzes to communicate with each other; but we’ve never known if any of the sounds functioned as names until now.

Marine biologists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland tracked bottlenose dolphins and recorded their chatter. They found these acrobats of the sea use name-like whistles to identify and communicate with each other.

To discover this, scientists recorded dolphins talking then later played back the recordings for the same pod. When some (possibly friends or family) heard the recording they immediately replied with the same whistle and sometimes even swam toward the sound. This means dolphins develop a whistle or name and other dolphins are able to learn it.

Geez, we knew dolphins were smart but what’s next; are they going to take over the world like they did in the Simpsons?