Dolphins recorded chatting 'like two people'

Can dolphins talk?
(Image credit: iStock)

It turns out the language of dolphins is a whole lot more like the language of humans than we had ever realized. Although scientists have long known certain mammals use distinct sounds to express themselves, researchers at the Karadag Nature Reserve in Feodosia, Russia, have recorded for the first time dolphins using individual "words" to make "sentences" in the same way that people communicate with one another, The Telegraph reports.

Yasha and Yana, two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, would apparently listen to a "sentence" without interrupting before adding their own reply of pulses. "Essentially, this exchange resembles a conversation between two people," lead researcher Dr. Vyacheslav Ryabov said. He went on:

[...] We can assume that each pulse represents a phoneme or a word of the dolphin's spoken language.The analysis of numerous pulses registered in our experiments showed that the dolphins took turns in producing [sentences] and did not interrupt each other, which gives reason to believe that each of the dolphins listened to the other's pulses before producing its own.This language exhibits all the design features present in the human spoken language, this indicates a high level of intelligence and consciousness in dolphins, and their language can be ostensibly considered a highly developed spoken language, akin to the human language. [The Telegraph]

The next step is clear: deciphering the dolphin's "words" and communicating back to them. "Humans must take the first step to establish relationships with the first intelligent inhabitants of the planet Earth by creating devices capable of overcoming the barriers that stand in the way of using languages and in the way of communications between dolphins and people," Ryabov said.

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