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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Swimmers And Dolphins Communicating

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Pet owners know how best to communicate with their pets.

After years of swimming in the ocean and various encounters, many open water swimmers also develop the knack of how to interact with marine life...especially dolphins.

When we see dolphins swim under us and around us, whether it is in Huntington Beach, California or Oahu in Hawaii, it seems that they are eyeing us in the most friendly way. It seems like they want to communicate with us. As they swim side-by-side with us, we can imagine the dolphins enjoy the company of human swimmers in their home environment. They come close enough so we can easily hear their whistles, sounds and clicks.

Using their nasal air sacs located behind their blowhole, scientists say that dolphins give whistles and burst-pulsed sounds for communication and clicks for echolocation.

Marine researchers have now reproduced what dolphins "see" when humans come in their visual perspective. The dolphin echolocation results in fairly detailed images from what researchers know. But even more interestingly and importantly, dolphins are thought to share these images with each other as part of their marine mammal language.

Researcher Jack Kassewitz of SpeakDolphin.com (see here issued a press release, "Our recent [research] 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."

It is reasonable to imagine that dolphin echolocation results in very clear, detailed mental images, but human technology is not yet capable of capturing what dolphins are actually seeing. Kassewitz said, "The dolphin has had around 50 million years to evolve its echolocation sense, whereas marine biologists have studied the physiology of cetaceans for only around 5 decades, and I have worked [on this] with John Stuart Reid for barely 5 years."

Video shows Adam Walker being protected and guided by dolphins in the Cook Strait.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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