Scientists have long known that animals communicate with each other. Some species (like the vervet monkeys) make particular sounds that represent a specific direction or warning to others, but we don’t really know how animal groups relate to each other linguistically in the wild.
Recently, scientists discovered that bottlenose dolphins (the ones that look like Flipper) have more complex social communication than previously thought. At the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Nicola J. Quick and Vincent M. Janik recorded bottlenose dolphins encountering other pods in the wild. Using computerized sound analysis, they found consistent sounds when the groups approached each other. They observed that each dolphin made a particular whistle, as if they were saying, “Hi, my name is Mary.” The scientists are calling these sounds “signature whistles.” The dolphins will call out to another pod, then join up and travel together for a little while.
Listen to a sample dolphin whistle.
But what does this mean? Just because the dolphins repeat sounds, does it mean that they are using “language”? The research is still in the early stages, and it is not yet clear what all the sounds mean. How do the dolphins decide who calls out to the other groups? What catalyzes the interaction? Do groups regularly encounter the same groups during one day? Learn more at the Discover Magazine blog here.
Can any animal understand language, as we think of it? When dogs follow directions, do they actually understand the words? Learn about the border collie who understands 1,000 words here.
Do you think dolphins are “speaking?”
I believe dolphins are probably speaking to each other. They are very intelligent.
The dolphins are probably wondering if WE are “speaking.”
Probably! cus I mean, dolphins are very intelligent, so i agree with Vixx!
btw dolphins are my fav animal besides wolves, tigers, Tasmanian tigers (or Tasmanian wolves, whatever they are called and they are extinct but who cares!) frogs, snakes, and giraffes!
heheh, you can probably tell that I’m an animal lover! maybe that’s why I love Beast Boy from the show Teen Titans! (also probably cus my favorite color is green, which happens to be the color Beast Boy is!)
I do think dolphins are speaking. everyone should know dolphins are very intelligent. They are my favorite animal.
I think they are sending some signals to each other, but not actually speaking a language.
Depends on what you define as “speaking”. Dolphins certainly communicate with each other though communication is still more primitive, instinctual, and survival based than our own. In my opinion, calling it “speaking” is going a bit far, but they have a far more complex communication system than most animals.
God is awesome! He created dolphins in a very unique way.
Dolphins might be thinking, “These human beings seem to be intelligent. Do they also communicate?”
Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!
“The research is still in the early stages” – it has been in the early stages for as long as I (will) have rambled the earth. It is going to stay that way in the coming eons.
Dolphins actually do not speak. They communicate.
Trains do that.
However, they show signs of humanly qualities such as affection, memory, helpfulness and even humour…in fact my dog does the same.
I even find signs of some intelligence with chickens, too. Do chickens say hello?
Anyways, i like this post. Keep it that way! Thank you.
First we must decide at what point ‘consistent sounds’ become language. I’m sure human language must have developed that way.
of course every specie can talk to each other .
hey that iz like so totally cool they’re probably speaking but it is like so exciting to know that
Maybe I should do some research about this… It’s interesting….. =\
there is an adage that says “Why is sense called common when it is so rare?” This situation applies to human beings who are quite often inhumane. Dolphins have common sense and know how to be friends with each other.
I am a former merchant seaman and I love dolphins. This is really cool. Of course dolphins speak to each other. They react to human laughter and will “put on a show” right in the middle of the ocean to amuse seafarers. Nobody knows how to enjoy life like a dolphin.
@VIXX YES THEY ARE AND SO SWEET AND CALMB LOL I WISH I HADE ONE THAT WILL BE SO COOL lol
I believe that they do speak. Dolphins are really smart. They can listen to the human’s instruction!
I think it’s very possible. I’ve read books on this subject and it certainly seems like they’re communicating.
that is so cool j.k.
I do believe the word ‘animal’ has been used in a very symplistic manner here, since humans of course are animals too.
Cetaceans’ brain as a matter of fact contain spindle cells, the type of cell in humans responible for giving us complex speech, strong emotions and empathy. In whales and dolphins the concentration of these was even found to be 3x as high as humans. Above that, their brains are a lot bigger.
There is more than just anatomic evidence.
Dolphins are also self aware; cetaceans are the only species apart from humans that can think about thinking, and possesing self-awareness.
Luckily, people now try to decipher their languages, hoping to verbally communicate with them. (source: http://news.discovery.com/animals/dolphin-talk-communication-humans-110906.html)
Other recent researches state cetaceans have cultures, their own names, accents, dialects, can teach each other, and deserve rights as non-human persons.
We could be pretty sure dolphins are speaking.
Peepul r smart bacuz thay ken say hello then kill eech uther. dolfins r stoopid cuz thay dont even have any wepons.
awh its so cute
Good for you, Vixx! Now, can you demonstrate that dolphin communication is language? If not, then I’m afraid that your beliefs on this topic aren’t going to be valued very highly.
i think these cute lil’ animals are smart enough to complete the mission of communicating in this kind of way!
Well I don’t mean to be rude or anything, because I am a whale, but I don’t thinks its nice that your not giving credit to us whales. I mean we have brains much bigger than dolphins and we are big and gentle. It would be nice if next week you made an article on whales the gentle giants speak out.
Oh woe is me, Walter
these are smart animals and are very good at communicating in other ways as well!
I think yes, they do have their own language. Maybe not as complex as human’s, but after all these years of evolution I find it hard to believe that we are alone in our intelligence.
The dolphins are definitely talking they’re saying, “So long and thanks for all the fish!”
I don’t understand why this is news. I used to volunteer at a dolphin research lab in the 1990’s. The dolphins clearly “spoke” to each other. Signature whistles had been recorded, and they certainly communicate with each other.
There is much more to cetaceans in general than meets the eye. For example, some dolphins at the lab “got along” better with certain trainers than with others. We can’t just completely rely on scientific data. We have to look beyond science to understand this marvelous creatures.
I think dolphins are more intelligent than humans. So are whales.
Dolphins are so adorable:)
First off, this research isn’t exactly “recent,” but yes, they are definitely “names”! My sister used to work at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, and also worked for a while at Sea World Orlando. Cetaceans (dolphins and whales) are her big thing. She told me about “signature whistles” about ten years ago, but mentioned a couple things this article doesn’t. Apparently, not only does each dolphin go around repeating a particular whistle, but the whistle is typically a variation of its mother’s whistle (so it’s passed down, almost like a family name) – and when another dolphin wants to get the first dolphin’s attention, it mimics the first dolphin’s whistle! It would be like me walking around all the time muttering, “Robin, Robin, Robin…” and then you say “ROBIN!” and I instantly respond because I know you’re talking directly to me… If that’s not a name, I don’t know what is!
[...] ‘Dolphin Whistles’ and so can we: — A rash attempt at Harmony. –Though another issue here we see: — [...]
@Language Guy: Can YOU demonstrate that dolphin communication is NOT language? Vixx was stating an opinion, and unless you can present irrefutable proof that Vixx’s opinion is untrue, I see no reason for you to act so rudely.
Of course dolphins are speaking. They have been trying to communicate with us since time immemorial. And their message? “Homo Sapiens, do not feel that cocksure that you are civilized or intelligent. No truly intelligent human being has the right to kill, maim or torture any other intelligent being who is a legitimate partner of planet Earth — let alone other human beigs.” Go tell this to the senseless and short-sighted annihilators of thousands and thousands of species of animals, including dolphins and whales and all the rest, as of other people and entire nations. Here I’ll refrain from opening the chapter on mass murders and genocides officially patronized, organized and perpetrated by governments and states. You might perhaps sponsor another question some other time: Has the so-called civilized modern Man the right, or even the probability, of ending up as the sole inheritor of planet Earth?
Dolphins probably do talk! I mean the are very smart a highly intelligent!!
YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP thay are saying hello and i love you
Cyberquill your by far my favorite dictioneer!
Dolphins have a language, this is not recent, get you act together dictionary.com, and yes, other animals can be taught to understand our language too, gosh, you are slow.
I think their communication system is so nuanced and complex that we just can’t understand it. Humans, with their megalomania, are always measuring others by their standards. Dolphins have been around much longer than we have and inhabit most of the planet so I wouldn’t be surprised if their society and communications are for more advanced and complex than our own. What we actually hear could represent only 1% of what is being communicated and I think their awareness and using of the electromagnetic spectrum far transcends our own.
They sound like a bird screaching. SO to me they sound beautiful. Don’t you think so to?
They sound like a bird screaching. SO to me they sound beautiful. Don’t you think so to? :$ ;0
Okay, one more “Hitchhikers” reference and I am going to scream! And @Darwin Christ Almighty, I hope you were being ironic. If so, well said.
Thank you @J. T. Oordenaar for the much needed clarification on the subject of dolphin speech.
Dolphins were my favourite animal as a child, but Walter Whale is right. Whales are intelligent too.
I speak dolphin, whale, toddler, teenager, and retail store clerk.
When regarding the capability, or lack thereof, of animals to speak, one should consider grey parrots. They are quite intelligent, at least for birds, and some say that they have a limited capability to understand the speech of humans and of themselves (when they are mimicking human speech).
I think they are talking to each other in a cute dolphin way
Yes I believe they do. Actually, I think most species have a way of communication. Humans evolve over time, why would it be different for other living creatures?
FYI: Did you know that Pigs are VERY intelligent animals?
“Pigs are very intelligent and learn quickly. Pigs rank #4 in animal intelligence behind chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants. They pick up tricks faster than dogs. Piglets learn their names by two to three weeks of age and respond when called.
Pigs are very social animals. They form close bonds with each other and other species. Pigs enjoy close contact and will lie close together when resting. Pigs use their grunts to communicate with each other.
Pigs are VERY CLEAN animals. They keep their toilets far from their living or eating area. Even piglets only a few hours old will leave the nest to relieve themselves.
Pigs are much more tolerant of cold than heat. Pigs have no sweat glands, so they can’t sweat. They roll around in the mud to cool their skin. The layer of dried mud protects their skin from the sun. If available, pigs, who are great swimmers, prefer water to mud.
If dolphins could talk, then they should have their own names. Did you know that dolphins and humans get along very well with each other? So, that states why in mythology when they talk about dolphins and humans that were related to each other, but the dolphin chose the sea while we inhabited the land. Also, some other researches have found out that once there was a human catching waves along the ocean and suddenly a shark appeared, but don’t cry. Fortunately, the surfer dude was saved by a group of dolphins. So, whenever you think of dolphins, you are thinking about a mammal of your species.
THANK THE DOLPHINS!
Oh, I forgot, click on my name (its blue). It has this website about our little friends in the ocean, the dolphin.
Dolifins are my favorite amimal, and they are intelligent! WOW!
This post is really interesting. I think Dolphins do communicate.
I think they are. A while back there was a show about testing the intelligence of dolphins. One had to do with language. So, using the hand gestures a trainer had taught them, the trainer explained to two dolphins they had to make up a new trick and perform it together to get their treats. They swam underwater together for a second, then did a trick completely in sync with one another, and came back to the trainer for the praise and fish.
Not only dolphins, all animals in the world can communicate of their group or individual and we can not understand their language…their communication is always straight forward and specific but most worst communicate present in humans.
Here in Nevada the Mockingbirds sing in spring with happy songs.
In the morning in summer, on the days it will be over 100* they growl “twurp twurp” and sure enough later on it is over 100*. It took me a while to finally figure that out . I’m sure they were disgusted with me being so stupid.
Killer Whales and Beluga Whales and Pilot Whales are all DOLPHINS.
Makes the documentary “The Cove” that much more horrific. Let’s try and stop Japanese dolphin slaughter scheduled for this September.
Let linguists decide whether dolphins use language or not. So far there is no recognized “dolphinese”, and all we – amateurs – discuss, is merely valueless easy talk.
Generally speaking, a language is a set of signs (not necessarily sounds) that we can learn. Articulate languages are used only by humans.
Animals are non-articulate.
Whoever could learn a dolphin’s language? Nobody, because that is not a language. Or else I would happily sign in for such a course should it be possible some later time.
Some of you, due to a basic goodwill and sympathy for dolphins, kindly nickname it a language, meaning instead “communication”.
Geek-geek, pfjjjjjjj pshhhhhhhh wak-wak – that is “good bye” in dolphinese.
I am a Krill! Just what kind of whale are you Walter. I say dolphins are awesome because they don’t kill Krill and eat them! Shame on you Walter, you left out some big details. Whales are gentle giants maybe to everybody, but not us Krill. But in the end this article forgot one tiny thing. Even know Whales may be smart and dolphins might be intelligent, it turns out in the end that Krill are the true brains in this place
How do you like them apples Walter?
So you do vote for
A) Dolphins are better
B) Whales are better
C)Krill are better
D)Something else is better
P.S. Note to you kids. Do you know C is the most chosen thing on the NECAP test because C is usually the most correct answer.
Animals are never given credit for how wondrous they really are by humans. If anything, they demonstrate more love, compassion, and devotion than most people I have known. Did you ever see a pit bull douse a human with gasoline and set them on fire just to get their evil rocks off?
i know that dolphins are clever animals but i never thought could be speaking in a different language. I kinda don’t think they are i think they have different sounds for danger peace ext.
Dolphins, like many animals, can communication. But animal communication is not the same as human language, whose range of expression and complexity is infinite.
In other words, saying, “Hi, I’m Mary,” is not the same as “someone thinks they saw a man wearing yellow pants break into the house on the corner of fifth and elm around the same that an accident took place . . .”
Whoever is writing these Dictionary.com articles has no understanding of linguistics, the science of language. These articles are misleading and unscientific and written only to get a cheap reaction out of readers.
Dolphins, like many animals, can communicate.
We as humans are so vain to think that we have complete dominion and absolution of “language and speech” Dictionary.com defines language as “any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.” Also, one of the definitions of speaking is, “to communicate vocally.” So it is possible that other forms of life other than humans do speak and have a language. Imagine that!
Your Right Paul. I am a contributing author. I am Delbert the Dolphin, and all of you need to shut your lips and realize that we are all smart.
Walter, Whale You are very humble and like a gentleman, but you need to realize that just because you have a big brain it does not mean you are smarter than everyone. Shame on you for making silly realizations
Karl Krill, you are a feisty little box of catnip. You need to calm down, take a deep breath and stop picking on poor Walter. Sure he eats your people, but you can do something for him, you can calm down and give him advice on what its like to be a vegetarian. Hes calm enough and might just listen (if he starts to drool, I suggest you get the hell out of there)
And finally Paul Puma, where the hell did you come from. This is more of a sea meeting. Your a little rude, and act like a snob. You need to get some manners and realize that your just as smart as all animals in the kingdom (for goodness sake, you call your self the smartest yet I heard your kind licks their crotches to get cleans!)
So that is basically all. I hope my wise words influence your thoughts
P.S Dolphins Rule!
I believe that dolphins can communicate, as you and I do, even if their ‘language’ is at an early stage of evolving. I am rather sure that if one has a dog, one shall see how the tone, the volume, and the speed in which one speaks gives the animal clues to one’s feelings of their actions.
“Since at least the 1970s, when researchers successfully trained chimpanzees to use and read words in sign language, we have known that language, in a loose sense of the term, is not unique to humans. Animals have the brain power to understand human language and use their own languages in surprisingly profound ways. We all know parrots can be trained to speak human words. And dogs will react to the word “walk” with a knowing, tail-wagging enthusiasm.”
This displays that animals in general have the potential to understand a basic vocabulary, however, the question in concern is whether dolphins, who if I may say so myself are incredibly well developed race, can create their own way of communicating.
Without a doubt, dolphins have the potential, but how would they seek the authority to set certain rules amongst their kind?
I’m pretty sure dolphins can speak. It’s basically like another language: the sounds are different.
dolphins almost certainly speak, communicate and have language. to all the people that suggested otherwise, go ahead and scroll up to that little search bar and decide for yourself if what dolphins do fits the definitions.
@gsd – That is exactly what I was looking for.
@Sahag Toutjian: Um yeah, humans do have the right to become the “sole inheritor of planet Earth.” Because we have souls and animals don’t. Oops! That’s gonna start an argument! Human life more valuable than animal life?! Yikes!!!
C’mon guys, really? Why are so many people saying dolphins are better than humans? More advanced communication? Give me a break! Humans are horrible? Right… we’ve all heard that before. Now, if someone told you that you HAD to kill either a dolphin or your kid (or someone really close to you)
what would you do? Be honest!
I pretty much think that all animals “speak” in some way or another…
Katherine Alissa here! I just made this cool poem about dolphins! Please read.
How was it? Don’t grade me as an adult would do because I’m just a 1st grader. Well, you can. Just saying.
Have a good day!
Please stop misquoting my books.
I LOVE ur comment Luthien and JP !!
Yes, I also think they speak. They are almost as intelligent as humans, so that’s very possible. We people just think we’re the best, so we think animals can’t think for themselves. It’s high time scientists examined it!
This news really sounds interesting.
not so sure this is recent study. My children’s book ‘do whales have belly-buttons’ taught me dolphin’s have ’signature whistles’ years ago…
Dolphins are very intelligent as I know.But I wonder if they can speak.I mean,I just heard them whistling.But still,dolphins are getting more and more interesting for me.I hope I discover more about dolphins and all other animals,too.
These are very interesting cute animals who i think have a great way of communicating with each other. Since i am an oceanographer, i think than these babes are definetly talking to each other. They are probably telling each other that they are hungry, telling each other that there might be danger, or telling each other to shoo off in a cute way. Thanks Dictionary.com! This will help a lot of people understand why animals communicate with each other! LOVE U!!!!!!!!!!!!!! say hi to heather for me and tell her that hers was good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aaaahhhhhhh. So cute. Dolphins saying hi is the cutest thing ever!
I love dolphins soo much! Of course thats true! Dolphins are super intelligent!
- if you say that these babes talk to each other, you mean they speak.
Basically, they do not talk to each other. Their language is not “learnable” for us. So it is not a language in human perception.
My little dog barks and taps his empty plate. Is that “talk”? (so I know he is hungry.)
A policeman blows his whistle, and you don’t call it language.
Again – let linguists decide. I want to hear one say that dolphins talk.
Even an oceanographer may say that dolphins – or any – make themselves understood up to a certain point. But there is no grounds to call it language.
It may be useful to be like dolphins and think outside the square. Whatever they use to communicate has to be their ‘language’…we can go on measuring everything against the ‘way we do things’ .
Wow it’s great chalenge by dolphin to man
I do think they are talking!
I believe God created all his creatures in a so intelligent way that this is possible. When you stare on working ants in the summer you can see when they are passing by each other they are kind of greeting each other, then they take their way…I am convinced animals have their way of talking to their own specie, of course.
i lke pie and candy lol
i think they are speaking dolphins r very smart and i really like them
ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa… dolphin …my favorite animal
I love dolphins because they are my favorite animals i all ways want to touched one and do some tricks.Dose the dolphins swim 5 to 7 miles per hour if they chasing their prey.If u splashing in the water will they come closer to u if u in the water with them. Adult eat up to 4% to 5% of their body weight per day but a nursing mother may eat up to 8% per day.Can dolphins stay up to 15 minutes under water.Dolphins use herding by swimming along in the ocean and eating fish at the same time, by working together.And that’s my common for the dolphins because the dolphins are so cute and they also dolphins are know to share a special relation with humans.That’s my common about the dolphins. by Jaqueclyn Nicole Miller
I saw this program once, about dolphins. There was an experiment to see if dolphins recognized their own reflection. At first, they didn’t, and tried to interact with it as though it were another dolphin.
Then, they noticed that it was a reflection, not another dolphin, and realized that it was their OWN REFLECTION. The dolphins were actually curious to see what they looked like, and spent a while examining themselves in the mirror.
The program also showed that dolphins seem to have names and that they call each other by their names, as well as that they might be capable of empathy (even more so than us, as they were possibly able to empathize with humans).
I would like to think that someday, inter-species communication will be possible.