Dolphins see people—we already know this. But what do we talk about when we talk about dolphins seeing people? Cool new scientific imaging shows a relatively clear image of what these compelling sea mammals actually envision when they look at humans.

In a test that involved analyzing dolphin echolocation (the dolphins’ method of vision through sound), researchers were able to capture a computer-enhanced shot of ~Dolphin Vision~.


Where: The Dolphin Discovery Center in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico

Who: Researcher Jim McDonough dove into a huge pool in front of a female dolphin named Amaya (a friend of our very own Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, who recently swam with dolphins)

What: Researchers used sonic equipment to record the echolocation signal that Amaya directed at McDonough.


The resulting image looks like: a) a dancing astronaut b) a dancing ghost, c) a mummy d) your dad trying to dance.

This is more of a rough sketch than an exact rendering, but fascinating still. Mashable notes:

It could be that dolphin echolocation signals result in much clearer, more detailed mental images, and that it’s our technology that isn’t yet fully attuned to what the marine mammals are precisely seeing.


This may only be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with DolphinKind.’s Jack Kassewitz, who led the research team, said in a press release: “Our recent success has left us all speechless. We now think it is safe to speculate that dolphins may employ a ‘sono-pictorial’ form of language, a language of pictures that they share with each other. If that proves to be true an exciting future lies ahead for inter species communications.” What.

Contact the author at

Images via YouTube, Cymacope Laboratory/Discovery News