A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to "speak their language"

November 3, 2017 by  
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A beluga whale living in captivity with a pod of bottlenose dolphins learned to communicate using their unique “language” or sounds. Detailed in a new study published in the journal Animal Cognition , the extraordinary inter-species communication breakthrough demonstrates the well-documented ability of beluga whales to accurately imitate sounds of other species. This mimicry extends even to humans, as was the case with Noc, the beluga whale studied by the US Navy in the 1970s who was observed making human-like sounds. Although it can’t be confirmed whether or not the beluga whale actually understands the meaning of the dolphin sounds, her ability to shift her own communication style demonstrates the social sophistication and intelligence of cetaceans . At first, the cohabitation arrangements were not originally an easy transition for the cetaceans. “The first appearance of the beluga in the dolphinarium caused a fright in the dolphins,” wrote researchers Elena Panova and Alexandr Agafonov of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow . However, after only two months of living with dolphins , the beluga whale featured in the study began using dolphin sounds. The team of scientists recorded 90 hours of vocalizations, data through which the researchers were able to identify that the beluga whale began to use the signature whistles of each individual dolphin, unique sounds that may function similar to names. Related: There’s a humpback whale living in the Hudson River Although the beluga whale was eager to fit in with her new family, the dolphins did not similarly adapt their “ language .” “The inspection of the audio recordings made before and after the beluga’s introduction revealed that the cross-species imitation was not reciprocal,” wrote the researchers. “While the imitations of dolphin whistles were regularly detected among the beluga’s vocalizations, we found only one case in which the dolphins produced short calls that resembled (but were not identical in physical parameters) those of the beluga .” Although the beluga may not be able to understand the sounds it is using, it is nonetheless an important example of a phenomenon known as call convergence. “The case reported here, as well as other instances of imitation and whistle sharing in dolphins described in the literature, may be considered as vocal convergence between socially bonded individuals – a phenomenon that can be seen in various vocal species, from birds to humans,” wrote the researchers. “With some exceptions, call convergence is suggested to provide recognition of a group and strengthening of social bonds between its members.” Via Science Alert Images via Depositphotos (1)

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A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to "speak their language"

Incredibly rare two-headed porpoise found in the North Sea

June 15, 2017 by  
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An unsuspecting fisherman recently stumbled across an incredibly rare two-headed dolphin. Only nine examples of conjoined twins have ever been found among cetaceans , according to Erwin Kompanje, curator of mammals for the Natural History Museum Rotterdam in the Netherlands . So he jumped at the chance to study a rare specimen of conjoined harbor porpoises caught the end of May by Dutch fisherman. But when he reached out to the fisherman, what happened next was a scientist’s nightmare. It’s not unheard of for trawlers to accidentally catch a porpoise. There are hundreds of thousands of the cetaceans near the coast of the Netherlands. But no one has ever caught conjoined twin harbor porpoises. The fisherman snapped photos, which made their way to Kompanje. He couldn’t wait to study the creature in the laboratory. Related: Fish with “human-like teeth” spotted in Michigan lakes Kompanje could tell the twins were male, and had likely recently been born – and he thinks they were born alive. They probably didn’t live for long; either they had two brains which might have told them to swim in different directions, or a single heart may have failed to pump enough blood to keep them alive. Conjoined twins are an extremely rare find. And these looked to be in good condition. Others that have been discovered were undeveloped fetuses – such as one found near Japan in 1970 in a dolphin’s womb – or have started to decompose, such as a dolphin with two beaks found in 2001. Kompanje reached out to the fisherman to try and obtain the specimen for study. But this story doesn’t have a happy ending for science. The fisherman thought it was illegal to catch the conjoined twins, so after the photographs, they tossed the creature back into the sea. Kompanje told The Washington Post, “For a cetologist, this is a real horror.” Based on the photographs he was still able to publish a paper in DEINSEA, the online journal of the natural history museum, joined by one scientist of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and one from Wageningen Marine Research . Sadly, we may never know more about the rare twins. Via The Washington Post Images via Kompanje, E.J.O.; Camphuysen, C.J.; and Leopold, M.F.

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Incredibly rare two-headed porpoise found in the North Sea

This Livestream of Japan’s Brutal Taiji Cove Dolphin Slaughter Will Horrify You

September 26, 2014 by  
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The waters around Taiji Cove have been stained red since the beginning of September due to Japan’s annual dolphin slaughter – and the blood continues to flow today as we bear witness to a pod of 20-25 pilot whales being butchered mercilessly alongside their family members. Sea Shepherd is showing this slaughter via a livestream today at 1:30pm PT , and although the scene will be nothing short of devastating, it’s images like these that spur people into action. A quota of 2,000 dolphins and small whales was approved for slaughter this year, and this particular pod was corralled yesterday in the cove, where they have been huddled together in terror, waiting to be butchered. WATCH THE TAIJI COVE LIVESTREAM HERE > Read the rest of This Livestream of Japan’s Brutal Taiji Cove Dolphin Slaughter Will Horrify You Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: baby dolphin , baby whale , cetacean , cetaceans , dolphin , dolphins , livestream , pilot whale , Sea Shepherd , stabbing , Taiji , taiji cove , taiji dolphin slaughter , Taiji slaughter , taiji whale slaughter , whale , whale murder , whales

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This Livestream of Japan’s Brutal Taiji Cove Dolphin Slaughter Will Horrify You

New Research Shows the Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun

September 26, 2014 by  
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Hang on to your chair and prepare to have your mind blown. That water in the glass bottle on your desk is old, and I mean unfathomably ancient – even older than the Sun, according to new research. Motherboard reports that scientists have known for some time that the water on Earth is really old , but new research recently published in the journal Science shows that it’s even older than previously thought, and actually predates the formation of our solar system. The news increases the chances that water is present on other planets, along with other forms of life. Read the rest of New Research Shows the Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: deuterium , disk , earth , earth’s water is older than the sun , formation , heavy , heavy water , ice , interstellar , old water , older , protoplanetary , solar , system , than , water is older than the sun , water issues

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New Research Shows the Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun

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