Wolf and dolphin languages, new research


This video says about itself:

A Man Among Wolves

Jul 17, 2012

Shaun Ellis has joined a pack of wolves, living and behaving like them. Abandoned at birth, three wolf pups are raised by Shaun who then teaches them the ways of the wild. As they grow up, he feeds, sleeps and breaths the same air as his wolves and in return they give him a place in the pack. Seeing the world as a wolf, Shaun takes a step further and comes up with a plan to help wild wolves threatened in Poland.

From the BBC:

22 July 2013 Last updated at 02:19

Wolf howl identification technology excites experts

By Michelle Warwicker, BBC Nature

Individual wild wolves can be recognised by just their howls with 100% accuracy, a study has shown.

The team from Nottingham Trent University, UK, developed a computer program to analyse the vocal signatures of eastern grey wolves.

Wolves roam huge home ranges, making it difficult for conservationists to track them visually.

But the technology could provide a way for experts to monitor individual wolves by sound alone.

“Wolves howl a lot in the wild,” said PhD student Holly Root-Gutteridge, who led the research.

“Now we can be sure… exactly which wolf it is that’s howling.”

The team’s findings are published in the journal Bioacoustics.

This video says about itself:

May 24, 2011

Turn the volume up and listen what the Bottlenose dolphins are talking about. Amazing sounds, whistles, clicks and squeaks. Even now I can feel the sonar going through my body just by watching this.

Also from the BBC:

22 July 2013 Last updated at 23:02 GMT

Dolphins ‘call each other by name’

By Rebecca Morelle, Science reporter, BBC World Service

Scientists have found further evidence that dolphins call each other by “name”.

Research has revealed that the marine mammals use a unique whistle to identify each other.

A team from the University of St Andrews in Scotland found that when the animals hear their own call played back to them, they respond.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr Vincent Janik, from the university’s Sea Mammal Research Unit, said: “(Dolphins) live in this three-dimensional environment, offshore without any kind of landmarks and they need to stay together as a group.

“These animals live in an environment where they need a very efficient system to stay in touch.”

Signature whistles

It had been-long suspected that dolphins use distinctive whistles in much the same way that humans use names.

Previous research found that these calls were used frequently, and dolphins in the same groups were able to learn and copy the unusual sounds.

But this is the first time that the animals response to being addressed by their “name” has been studied.

To investigate, researchers recorded a group of wild bottlenose dolphins, capturing each animal’s signature sound.

They then played these calls back using underwater speakers.

“We played signature whistles of animals in the group, we also played other whistles in their repertoire and then signature whistles of different populations – animals they had never seen in their lives,” explained Dr Janik.

The researchers found that individuals only responded to their own calls, by sounding their whistle back.

The team believes the dolphins are acting like humans: when they hear their name, they answer.

Dr Janik said this skill probably came about to help the animals to stick together in a group in their vast underwater habitat.

He said: “Most of the time they can’t see each other, they can’t use smell underwater, which is a very important sense in mammals for recognition, and they also don’t tend to hang out in one spot, so they don’t have nests or burrows that they return to.”

The researchers believe this is the first time this has been seen in an animal, although other studies have suggested some species of parrot may use sounds to label others in their group.

Dr Janik said that understanding how this skill evolved in parallel in very different groups of animals could tell us more about how communication developed in humans.

Here is what you should do if you find a stranded dolphin, according to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

Grey wolf appears in Iowa for first time in 89 years – and is shot dead: here.

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