A new study has found that dolphins have their own cute little signature whistles that they use to introduce themselves to others when meeting up at popular ocean hangouts. It works kind of like a "What's goin' on, man." If Ryan Gosling was a dolphin, his signature would probably be the whistle version of "Hey girl."
The study was done by marine biologists Vincent Janik and Nicola Quick of University of St. Andrews. They followed a group of bottlenose dolphins around the eastern coast of Scotland and recorded their sounds. They found that the dolphins used their signature whistles when they met up with another group, but they typically only gave the whistle if they were actually mingling with the other dolphins. Only one member of each group gave the whistle, like the leader of the pack.
Laela Sayigh, a cetacean biologist who was not involved in this research says that knowing this about dolphin communication opens up all kinds of possibilities. For instance, "We know dolphins learn to copy each other's signature whistles. What if they use a signature whistle to refer to a 'third party' or a dolphin that isn't there?" Oh my God. Dolphin gossip!
Nice to Meet eet eet You [Science]