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Season 13 | Episode 8

Hello: The Broadcast

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(Photo Credit: きうこ)


It's hard to start a conversation with a stranger—especially when that stranger is, well, different. He doesn't share your customs, celebrate your holidays, watch your TV shows, or even speak your language. In this episode, we try to make contact with some of the strangest strangers on our little planet: animals.

First, reporter Ari Daniel tells us about Klaus Zuberbuhler's work in the Tai Forest of West Africa. When Klaus first came to the forest, he hit a wall of sound. But he slowly started making sense of that sonic chaos by scaring a particular monkey called the Diana Monkey. Turns out, the Diana Monkey is making more than just noise. We travel with Klaus into the woods as he tells us about one day when the cacophony of monkey calls were distilled into a life-saving warning.

Next, we meet Margaret Howe who in the 1960's had a very unusual roommate: a bottlenose dolphin named Peter.  In her first-ever radio interview, Margaret tells the story of their time together. 

Last, producer Lynn Levy jumps into the water to hear for herself what the dolphins have to say.

The Monkey Calls

A tantalizing taste of words in the jungle.

Comments [3]

Home Is Where Your Dolphin Is

In the 1960's, Margaret Howe had a very unusual roommate: a bottlenose dolphin named Peter.

Comments [5]

Dolphin Talk

Denise Herzing has been studying the same pod of wild dolphins for 30 years, waiting for them to say "Hello."

Comments [5]

Comments [9]

Michael Furr from Seattle, WA

Working with deaf faculty I can only extend the concept of Audism to these efforts to talk to dolphins. Audism is about the arrogance of the hearing as applied to the deaf community. Here, we have researchers who do not yet seem to have caught on that dolphin auditory abilities extend far beyond ours to include the ability to perceive the world in all four dimensions through sound. The scientists need to abandon the limits imposed by their own perceptions and skip sound altogether. Begin to create a set of physical symbols that dolphins and humans both can manipulate as a limited visual vocabulary. Then see how the dolphins expand it. 3D printed objects with magnets embedded could be used on a whiteboard to allow dolphins to string together symbols in ways that can covey meaningful information. Humans could do likewise.

Mar. 05 2017 07:12 PM
Daniel Smith from Texas

Its just my understanding but i think they should try less to enforce the idea we want to see in communication with the dolphins, meaning sentences, and look for a more wider communication, ie, that dolphins dont neccesarily use sentences or words in our method, they dont need them.
That said, this was one of the best and most wonderful things i have heard in my whoole life, and im 56. just the other day i saw an autistic person on fb who can draw from memory an antire cityscape from a short helicopter ride.
Humans have a ways to go to break from our confines and understand whats out there. I think we'd better hurry its cvoming. :)

Mar. 05 2017 01:15 AM
Ron from Florida

After listening to the dolphin story, I started wondering. Why don't they forget about teaching a dolphin english and forget about us trying to learn dolphin and just create a new language that both species are capable of speaking. She mentioned the dolphin rolling over to partially cover his blow hole to say her name, so they are very smart. The language could just be based on different tones of pitch and duration and also clicks. I don't know what it is, but I think there is a clicking language used in Africa somewhere. And we use morse code. So maybe they could combine those or something and create a language we could teach dolphins and we would be talking together in now time. We've created Klingon for Star Trek and Elvish for Lord of the Rings, so we should be able to do this too.

Mar. 04 2017 11:52 PM
LinZi Kim from Maine

This episode was new to me.. and so interesting.. I especially appreciated the last segment about trying to communicate with wild dolphins.. so interesting! Wonder how it is going...

Apr. 26 2016 12:13 PM
Kiley from Vermont

I loved each segment, but I'm confused. Isn't this just the episode "Hello" from a year ago, but with the Wild Talk podcast from 2010 put on top? I don't mind it when old stuff gets highlighted on the podcast page, but why is this considered a new episode? Off to go listed to Looking Back now, looks like it will be a good one :)

Oct. 22 2015 11:51 AM
Subodh Joshi

I dont mean to belittle Ari Daniel and Klaus Zuberbuhler's "rediscovery" of wonderful things in nature but havent they read any stories by Jim Corbett written way back in 1920s and 30s? It amuses me that they were talking as if they have discovered for first time about animal communication!

Oct. 06 2015 09:54 PM
Weston from New York

Did anyone else assume that when he was walking through the forest that the monkeys weren't calling out to point out a leopard, but were calling out to point out him? Which would make sense that instead of the leopard following him through the forest it was just his own walking that caused the monkey alarm?

Oct. 06 2015 10:19 AM
Chase from Fresno, CA

In the initial story about the monkeys the prey species all respond to one another's calls and hide from predators. Do the predators take advantage of this as well? Can, say, an eagle hear the monkey's leopard call and realize, "Hey, these monkeys are heading to the top of the trees. That's going to be easy prey."?

Oct. 05 2015 04:37 PM
Patanjali from Gotham

The seminal literature on yoga philosophy –the Yoga Sutra– states that, amongst the extraordinary powers acquired through yoga practice, an adept yogi can know the thoughts of animals.

Oct. 05 2015 11:11 AM

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