Two dolphins from Karadag Nature Reserve in Ukraine were recorded having a possible conversation. This “conversation” is different from other communications recorded since the dolphins talked to each other and not to a group. They also “listened” to each other and created sentences of up to five “words,” according to a recent study.

Researchers argue that the distinctive volume and frequency of pulsed clicks are not only sounds but “words” that they produce together to form sentences as humans do. Previous studies suggest the changes in volume and frequency are just a way to express they are excited, happy, stressed or separated from the group, which is a simple form of communication rather than a complex one.

A group of dolphins. Image credit: Wikimedia.

The recording was made by researchers at the Karadag Nature Reserve, in Feodosia, Ukraine, and features two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins talking to each other in a pool. The dolphins are called Yasha and Yana, and they were recorded listening to the other before replying.

According to Dr. Vyacheslav Ryabov, each pulse is a phoneme if it is assumed that each pulse that is produced by dolphins is different from another by its appearance and by the set of spectral components in the frequency domain. If Ryabov is correct, each sound would be a phoneme and a group of phonemes would be a word.

Ryabov added that the analysis of numerous pulses registered in their experiments showed that the dolphins took turns in producing what they believe are sentences. What makes Ryabov think Yasha and Yana were having a conversation is the fact they did not interrupt each other. According to the study, they were listening to the other before producing their own sentences of up to five words.

Detailed results of the study were published in the journal Mathematics and Physics. Dr. Ryabov thinks it is time to try to understand dolphins by finding ways to communicate with them.

Dolphins have had larger and more complex brains than humans for more than 25 million years and according to Dr. Vyacheslav Ryabov, we must create devices to communicate with them directly.

“Humans must take the first step to establishing relationships with the first intelligent inhabitant of the planet Earth,” Ryabov said.

Not everyone agrees the recording  proves a complex conversation

Dr. Kathleen M. Dudzinski from the Dolphin Communication Project told The Huffington Post on Monday that the study was interesting, but that it doesn’t show that dolphins are transmitting complex semantic information between each other as we often see for human language.

Another scientist that disagrees with Ryabov’s conclusions is Justin Gregg, a senior research associate with Dolphins Communication project. Gregg pointed out that physical gestures and vocalizations used among animals and humans for communication do not necessarily form a language and the recording does not show the contrary.

Source: The Telegraph