A beluga whale living in captivity with a pod of bottlenose dolphins has learned their language of whistles and clicks, scientists believe.
The four-year-old whale was moved to live with dolphins in the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea, in 2013 but initially struggled to communicate with her new tank mates. However within just a few months, she had begun to copy their whistles in clicks.
Scientists think it could be the first example of an animal changing its vocalisations in an attempt to ‘talk’ to another species.
“Two months after the beluga’s introduction into a new facility, we found that it began to imitate whistles of the dolphins, whereas one type of its own calls seemed to disappear,” said researcher Elena Panaova, of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.”While the imitations of dolphin whistles were regularly detected among the beluga's vocalisations, we found only one case in which the dolphins produced short calls that resembled those of the beluga.This case may be an interesting example of interspecies communication.”
The researchers have so far recorded more than 90 hours of audio, where the whale communicates like the dolphins.
Beluga whales are highly intelligent and have been known to imitate people, other animals and other sounds they hear. However, researchers say the beluga’s dolphin-like sounds are more interesting because she has given speaking ‘beluga’ to fit in with the group. Although the group were originally afraid of the whale, even the dolphin calf now swims beside her.
From The Telegraph
Question 1: [2,5 POINTS] Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
- The beluga whale was born in the dolphinarium in Crimea.
- Dolphins' characteristic sounds are whistles.
- Apparently, the whale has lost its own sounds in its effort to communicate with the dolphins.
- This study shows how the dolphins have frequently used similar sounds to those of the beluga.
- There has always been a good relationship between both dolphins and whale.
Question 2. Answer the following questions in your own words.
- How do dolphins communicate?
- Why is this discovery significant?
- False.”The four-year-old whale was moved to live with dolphins in the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea, in 2013..”
- True.” ... bottlenose dolphins has learned their language of whistles”...”... to imitate whistles of the dolphins...”
- True. “..After just a few months the beluga had stopped using its own contact calls and switched to dolphin signatures.”
- False. “..we found only one case in which the dolphins produced short calls that resembled those of the beluga.”
- False. “ Although the group were originally afraid of the whale, even the dolphin calf now swims beside her.”
- Dophins communicate by using clicks and whistles even to call each other.
- It is interesting since the whale has stopped making its own sounds in order to socialize with the dolphins.