Ocean Mammals communication (fwd)

From: Pita Admininstrator (pita@whale.wheelock.edu)
Date: Fri Oct 04 2002 - 16:07:35 EDT

  • Next message: Greg Early: "RE:"


    Yikes...that is a pretty tall order. There is a LOT of information about
    communication in marine animals (particularly whales and dolphins). More
    than I can give you in a quick note. One of the best things you can do is
    check on the web and for sure take a look at the information on WhaleNet
    and the WhaleNet archives.

    The reason there is so much information out there, is that this is a
    question that people have wondered about for a long time...probably since
    we started studying whales and dolphins. Generally, people wonder about
    communication in two ways. One way, is "Can we communicate with them?".
     This is a very controversial area and you are likely to find a lot of
    opinions on this one. The second way is "Do they communicate with each

    The second question is less controversial and nearly all scientists agree
    that to some extent ...yes they do communicate with each other in some way.
     Now that should not be all that surprising as most animals communicate
    with each other in some way (even insects...think about ants following each
    other to a nest for example). Marine mammals probably communicate with
    each other using a variety of signals to all of their senses. For example
    in some pinnipeds a sense of smell is very important and mothers canb
    identify their pups by using smell. Mother and pup recognize each other
    partly by smell and sound (the pup calls and the mother can find it). By
    far the most well developed systems, though uses sound. Marine mammals as
    a group make a lot of noise and it is felt that some of this is used in
    communication. Sounds can be used in may ways, from individual whistles
    that botlenosed dolphins can use to identify each other, to humpback whale
    "songs" that may be used by male whales to help find mates, to some of the
    loudest noises make by mammals (besides heavy metal bands)...noises made by
    blue whales that may be used to identify or locate other blue whales.

    As far as that first question goes...."Can we communicate with them...or
    can they communicate with us?" Well there is a lot of opinion on this one
    and some research. I will give you my opinion and you can do some checking
    for the rest. It should be no surprise that we can communicate (at least
    in some way) with some animals. For example, if my cat is hungry (which is
    often) he communicates this to me by standing on my chest. This means
    "Hey...wake up I'm hungry and I'll crush your lungs if you do not feed
    me"...[he is a big cat].......It gets his point across. Likewise, if you
    go to a sea lion or dolphin show you get to see a whole lot of
    communication between trainer and mammal. Sometimes it is one way ("Jump
    through the hoop"...and the seal jumps) and sometimes it is two way
    (trainer..."Jump through the hoop"...seal..."Yeah...Right...you jump
    through the hoop...I'm headed back to the bottom of the pool".) So the
    fact that there is some level of communication seems like no big deal. The
    big question, however is how much communication goes on, and at what level.
     There have been researchers studying this for many years and some of what
    they have found might surprise you.

    good luck,


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Karyn Friesen [SMTP:Pooh15_@hotmail.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 5:03 PM
    To: gearly@downeast.net; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: Ocean Mammals

     I am doing an assignment for my class and I was wondering if you could
    tell me any information you could on ocean mammals communication like
    dolphins, whales, ect. This is very important and I would be very greatful
    for your help. And could you send the info as soon as possible cause we
    don't have very long for this assignment.
    Thank you Karyn
     << File: ATT00003.htm >>

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