Dolphins are able to learn the 'names' of their companions, something that was believed unique to humans

The Dolphins are able to learn the characteristic ‘names’ or whistles of their peers more intimate, a trait that indicates that this type of cetaceans have a concept of belonging to a group that was believed exclusively human, as revealed by a study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

The research, conducted by a group of four scientists in Shark Bay, Western Australia with dolphins from the Indo-Pacific, provides evidence to the idea that dolphins They developed large brains to handle complex social settings.

These cetaceans move in groups with different levels of cooperation. They have a closest first circle (called first order) formed by one or two partners, with which they look for fertile females and also wider ones of up to 14 (second order), formed to defend themselves against rival groups. Even These larger groups ally with each other to cover their backs against threats.

These second-order alliances can last even decades, and scientists argue that the key to its survival is in the unique and unrepeatable whistle of each dolphin -Each specimen learns it from its mother and maintains it throughout its life. Dolphins are able to remember the whistles of others, similar to how we recognize other people’s names.

“In 90% of the experiments, the dolphins that heard whistles from members of their second-order alliance immediately turned to the loudspeaker,” says Stephanie King, principal investigator of the project, something that suggests, according to her, that these cetaceans have “a social conception of belonging to a group based more on cooperative investment than on how friendly they are. “


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