Dolphin Discoveries

bottlenose dolphin photoRecently, Dede posted a link to a very interesting Animal Planet article about a group of researchers who have discovered that dolphins are among the very few non-human species known to use tools and that their tool-use abilities are socially learned rather than a genetic or instinctive skill.

Now in a major step forward in their ongoing quest to communicate with our cetacean mammal friends, scientists have made another fascinating discovery…

Dolphins Can Learn To Sing

ABC Science News reports that researchers at Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida have proven that dolphins can be taught how to sing.   They’ve discovered that dolphins possess skills involved in processing language and music that were previosly thought to be uniquely human.   Although there are doubts about whether the dolphins realize they are producing what we people consider "music," they are the first nonhuman mammals to have demonstrated that they can recognize rhythms and reproduce them vocally.

New Dolphin Species Discovered!

In other dolphin news, a team of scientists in Queensland, Australia have posted findings of the first new dolphin species discovered in 30 years.   Orcaella heinsohni, or Australian snubfin dolphins were initially thought to be members of the Irrawaddy species, also found in Australian waters, but one researcher found the Snubfins bore different colorations and had unique dimensional characteristics.   DNA tests were used to confirm that they are indeed two distinct species.

Despite the name, however, I’m confident that these Snubfin dolphins are no more uppity than any of the other ever-so-friendly dolphin species.   Y’know, sometimes a foreign accent can lend an unintended air of arrogance…