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What Do Dolphins Talk About?

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(Photo Credit: Bethany Augliere, Courtesy of the Wild Dolphin Project)

Denise Herzing has been studying the same pod of wild dolphins for 30 years. Every summer, she and the dolphins are reunited. But this summer, things are a little different—this summer, with help from Thad Starner (one of the inventors of Google Glass), she's testing a new device that could change the conversation for good. 

Comments [6]

Raychel from Canada

So very interesting! And so well presented!

Why can't we have cross species conversations? We have such astounding brains, why can't we create something that would allow us to better interpret the sounds such an intelligent creature is making. AND TALK WITH THEM.

Right now, I wish I could be helping with this project. In any way. Sign me up!

Feb. 05 2015 10:57 AM
Virginia T. Ripley from Florida

I believe this is absolutely fascinating. To be able to translate what animals are saying would be astounding. It is interesting to hear about how they are developing these sounds that they believe they can teach to dolphins like their names and eventually the dolphins will learn what they are saying through repetition. It shows that dolphins are able to interpret others animals actions in their own way.

Oct. 20 2014 09:03 PM

As we all know, humans are capable of interpreting non-human-animal behavior in a human way; dolphins are capable of interpreting non-dolphin behavior in a dolphin way. I find it exhilarating that this research attempts to discover a potential for more complex information-sharing with a species vastly different from our own. However, whether the project will lead to information that we recognize as valuable or not is irrelevant; the experiment in itself is valuable for its attempts to discover a new frontier. I say "hooray" for the willingness of these scientists and volunteers to keep an open mind, for that is an essential component to our development and progression as a species. I immediately sent them a donation, and was reminded why it is so important to fund this podcast. Once again, thank you, RadioLab!

Sep. 12 2014 02:19 PM
Udo from Munich / Germany

This report would be more apropriate in an episode about "Anthropomorphism".

This Report shows, what are humans capable of in interpreting animal behaviour in a totaly human way. It also shows, that you can teach tricks to an animal , which is known for learning new tricks easily...

And all those humans got so excited, when the animals do exactly what they want .. "Look it picked up the scarf"

The participants of this experiment call themselves "scientists". In my humble opinion, this was not science ..

Where is the controled experiment ?

Sep. 03 2014 01:25 PM
russell buker from Maine

Bethany, when, if , you come to Maine I would love to see your dolphin dance

Aug. 26 2014 08:33 AM
Morris from Istanbul

Given dolphin vocal morphology, their social organization and cooperative hunting, coupled with the threats they face, it is absurd to think that they do not have linguistic capabilities that are pragmatically any different from ours.

Aug. 25 2014 04:44 PM

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