Saturday, Sep 22, 2018 | Last Update : 10:34 PM IST

Lonely dolphin learns to speak porpoise to talk to local animals

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Aug 30, 2018, 6:20 pm IST
Updated : Aug 30, 2018, 6:54 pm IST

The area is not commonly visited by dolphins and Kylie has mostly been exposed to sounds produced

Common dolphins have peak frequencies below 100 kilohertz (KHz) while for harbour porpoises it is around 130KHz..  (Photo: Pixabay)
 Common dolphins have peak frequencies below 100 kilohertz (KHz) while for harbour porpoises it is around 130KHz.. (Photo: Pixabay)

In a fascinating revelation, a dolphin living alone in the Firth of Clyde has learned to communicate with local harbour porpoises, an expert believes.

According to a story published in MailOnline, the short-beaked common dolphin, nicknamed Kylie by locals, has made his home around a navigational buoy between Fairlie and the Isle of Cumbrae, after he is thought to have gotten lost from his group.

The area is not commonly visited by dolphins and Kylie has mostly been exposed to sounds produced

The area is not commonly visited by dolphins and Kylie has mostly been exposed to sounds produced by other species, particularly the harbour porpoise.

Interestingly, University of Strathclyde PhD research student Mel Cosentino, who has been studying underwater audio recordings, found the dolphin has learned to increase the frequency of the clicking sounds made to navigate and hunt to match the porpoises.

Common dolphins have peak frequencies below 100 kilohertz (KHz) while for harbour porpoises it is around 130KHz.

Recordings made by volunteers from the Clyde Porpoise group using two towed underwater microphones found Kylie now regularly produces clicks with peak frequencies reaching over 130KHz when accompanied by harbour porpoises.

Speaking about the finding, Cosentino said, “Several cetacean species, such as bottlenose dolphins, belugas and killer whales, have the ability to change their acoustic repertoire as a result of interactions with other species.”

However, while this vocal learning ability has been observed in captive individuals, very few cases have been reported for wild cetaceans.

Cosentino aims to gather and analyse more recordings of the dolphin to verify her findings.

Tags: dolphin, porpoise, dolphin learns new language, cetacean, killer whale, pets and environment