“Eeek, squeak, click” means “I love you”?

By Susan Aiello • Published: May 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Ever wonder what dolphins are whistling about? Are they showing amorous intentions to a flashy Flipper?

Research has shown that the kings of the sea communicate information about their identity so that they can keep in touch over long undersea distances, using the various chirps, clicks and whistles that form a complex social interaction.

But in fact, their whistles aren’t really whistles at all, they’re more akin to human speech. Dolphins vibrate connective tissue in the nose the same way that people vibrate vocal cords to talk. There is also evidence that dolphins use sound to see, much as sonar or ultrasound produces images. Therefore, it may be possible to decipher their calls into pictures, like hieroglyphics.

So not only can we swim with dolphins, one day we may actually be able to talk to them. Doctor Doolittle would be pleased.