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  Topic: Dolphins have accents, Whistling in Welsh< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,03:21   

The CNN article

Quote
BANGOR, Wales (Reuters) -- Dolphins living off the coast of Wales whistle, bark and groan in a different dialect from dolphins off the western coast of Ireland, scientists have discovered.

Different physical environments might have contributed to the mammals developing distinctive sets of vocalizations or "dialects", said Simon Berrow from the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation.


A better article from the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation.

Quote
As part of a recent research project, student Ronan Hickey digitised and analysed a total of 1,882 whistles from the Shannon dolphins and those from bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay in Wales. He separated them into six fundamental whistle types and 32 different categories. Of the categories, he found most were used by both populations of dolphins, but eight whistle types were only produced by the Shannon dolphins.


The new paper is Berrow, S.D., O’Brien, J. & Holmes, B. (2006) Whistle production by bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in the Shannon estuary. Irish Naturalists' Journal 28(5), 208-213.

I poked around a bit, but didn't locate an online copy of the paper.

An earlier, related paper:

Hickey, R. (2005) Comparison of whistle repertoire and characteristics between Cardigan Bay and the Shannon estuary populations of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) with implications for passive and active survey techniques. School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

Just cool stuff.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,16:34   

I'd have to see the methods to be sure, but the odds are that any study that discusses using whistles alone to establish differences between populations is way over-hyped. Whistles get a lot of attention because you can collect some fraction of them with ordinary audio gear. Dolphins, however, produce a stunning variety of click-based sounds that are not whistles, with frequency content that goes from a few hundred hertz to several hundred kilohertz. Typical audio equipment, at best, delivers a part of the 20 to 20 kHz range that is the canonical human hearing range. It has only been in the past few years that mass-market equipment has become available with technical specs that improves upon the 20 kHz high end.

There is a lot more to dolphin sound than whistles...

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,16:58   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ May 25 2007,16:34)
I'd have to see the methods to be sure, but the odds are that any study that discusses using whistles alone to establish differences between populations is way over-hyped. Whistles get a lot of attention because you can collect some fraction of them with ordinary audio gear. Dolphins, however, produce a stunning variety of click-based sounds that are not whistles, with frequency content that goes from a few hundred hertz to several hundred kilohertz. Typical audio equipment, at best, delivers a part of the 20 to 20 kHz range that is the canonical human hearing range. It has only been in the past few years that mass-market equipment has become available with technical specs that improves upon the 20 kHz high end.

There is a lot more to dolphin sound than whistles...

Oh sure.  I finally do something vaguely resembling productive around here, something I found incredibly interesting and unexpected, and then you just show up and suck all the air of it by pointing out facts and scientifical stuff.

Thanks.  I'm going back to snark and sniping now, so I can be appreciated.

:D

Seriously though, an extension of this study involving the rest of the dolphin "vocabulary" (is that the right word for it?) would be fascinating to compare.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,17:15   

Hmmm... I just saw a TV commercial for some cell phone company where a guy jokes with his future father-in-law and then the call gets dropped so he hears nothing on the other end...

How appropriate.



:O

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2007,17:35   

this study is not entirely off base.

there have been many dialectical studies of killer whales over the last 20 years that have repeatedly been confirmed.

However, it is not clear as to whether those are "area effects" or "pod effects".

IOW, it does seem that there are variations between individual pods even within the same areas, though they appear not to be as strong a difference as between pods from entirely different areas.

there are also very strong differences between pods with different hunting styles (example between primarily marine mammal hunters vs. primary fish hunters), just to throw another monkey wrench into the issue.

If you are really interested, I could turn you on to a couple of people that have been working with killer whales and dolphins off the coast of CA for quite a while now, and know orders of magnitude more about the issue than i can recall.

just send me a PM.

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BWE



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,02:57   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 25 2007,17:35)
this study is not entirely off base.

there have been many dialectical studies of killer whales over the last 20 years that have repeatedly been confirmed.

However, it is not clear as to whether those are "area effects" or "pod effects".

IOW, it does seem that there are variations between individual pods even within the same areas, though they appear not to be as strong a difference as between pods from entirely different areas.

there are also very strong differences between pods with different hunting styles (example between primarily marine mammal hunters vs. primary fish hunters), just to throw another monkey wrench into the issue.

If you are really interested, I could turn you on to a couple of people that have been working with killer whales and dolphins off the coast of CA for quite a while now, and know orders of magnitude more about the issue than i can recall.

just send me a PM.

In puget sound, some remarkable studies on killer whales and "dialects" are being done right now. I think it's K pod but it might be J Pod, which ever one just picked up a stray calf, it should be in the news i'm just not quite up to googling at the moment, has one of the females wired with a transmitter measuring a whole host of things related to what is being called "dialect" at least for now. Sound engineers and others all working on it. Big budget. Much could come of it.

Any way, m drink now so maybe shid bed.

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Reciprocating Bill



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(Permalink) Posted: May 27 2007,08:08   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ May 25 2007,16:34)
I'd have to see the methods to be sure, but the odds are that any study that discusses using whistles alone to establish differences between populations is way over-hyped. Whistles get a lot of attention because you can collect some fraction of them with ordinary audio gear. Dolphins, however, produce a stunning variety of click-based sounds that are not whistles, with frequency content that goes from a few hundred hertz to several hundred kilohertz. Typical audio equipment, at best, delivers a part of the 20 to 20 kHz range that is the canonical human hearing range. It has only been in the past few years that mass-market equipment has become available with technical specs that improves upon the 20 kHz high end.

There is a lot more to dolphin sound than whistles...

Even given that whistles are a tiny portion of dolphin signaling, seems to me that a demonstration of something resembling the cultural origins and transmission of some of those "utterances," and particularly of the occasions for their use, would be a very significant finding. IIRC, the dolphin capacity for mimeses is surpassed only by human beings (and far exceeds that of chimps), suggesting that they would be good candidates for the emergence and elaboration of something like a capacity for culture.  

It would be doubly fascinating to find similar flexibility among high frequency clicks and bursts - and perhaps equally interesting for any model of the evolution of these various modes of communication if that flexibility is absent in ultrasonic utterances.  

(And I'm noticing that in five minutes I've thought of more interesting and researchable experimental questions than have been generated by the intelligent design movement across its entire history.)

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ScaryFacts



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,17:30   

Haven't you guys heard of the Reef of Babel?  It's in the Bible--God confused the language of dolphins to prevent them from completing the Reef of Babel.

Why even bother researching variety in sea mammal language when God has already told us in His inerrant Word?  Research to find answers we already know is just a waist of money we could be using to build a $27 million underwater creation museum to show the Truth to dolphins everywhere.

Geez, I come back after months of silence only to find you guys have completely given up your religion.

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,17:43   

Quote (ScaryFacts @ May 28 2007,17:30)
Haven't you guys heard of the Reef of Babel?  It's in the Bible--God confused the language of dolphins to prevent them from completing the Reef of Babel.

Why even bother researching variety in sea mammal language when God has already told us in His inerrant Word?  Research to find answers we already know is just a waist of money we could be using to build a $27 million underwater creation museum to show the Truth to dolphins everywhere.

Geez, I come back after months of silence only to find you guys have completely given up your religion.

Hey, I thought you were going computer-less for ten days or some such.  I think you're an addict.

:D

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,18:07   

Quote
It's in the Bible--God confused the language of dolphins to prevent them from completing the Reef of Babel.


yeah, after the reef broke the surface, he turned their limbs into flippers too, just to make it that much harder to try that shit again.

ever try lifting a big chunk of coral with a pair of flippers?

damn hard, let me tell ya.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

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ScaryFacts



Posts: 337
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2007,18:18   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 28 2007,18:43)
Hey, I thought you were going computer-less for ten days or some such.  I think you're an addict.


I am addicted, just not to the internet.

Actually Friday week (for those of you not from the south that means not this past Friday but the one before) I decided not to post for a couple days.  I've felt crappy and just wanted a break.  But I've been posting or commenting all week Lou, there just hasn't been enough "action" with Janie and Kate this week for you to hear much from me.

Computers I got--I think we have 6 total I could use, though my lap top needs to get fixed so I can post in relative comfort.

   
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