Sarasota, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – According to a new study, bottlenose dolphins call the out for their loved ones – by name.
According to Discovery News, the study states that these are the first animals, other than humans, known to do so.
“[The] animals produced copies when they were separated from a close associate,” lead author Stephanie King of the University of St. Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit was quoted as saying by Discovery News. “[T]his supports our belief that dolphins copy another animal’s signature whistle when they want to reunite with that specific individual.”
In order to come to this conclusion, researchers reportedly collected data by observing bottlenose dolphins near the Sarasota Bay between 1984 and 2009. That data was then combined with studies of captive adult male dolphins at The Seas Aquarium.
Heidi Harley, who is said to be an expert on the cognitive processes of dolphins, told Discovery News that she agreed with the study’s assessment of bottlenose dolphin behavior.
“This study provides evidence that copies of signature whistles include elements that differ from the whistles of the original whistler, while still maintaining the changes in frequency over time that allow a listener to identify the original whistler,” Harley, a psychology professor at New College, said to the website. “In addition, that signature whistle copying occurs between close associates, suggesting it is used affiliatively.”
The study was published in the most recent edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.