Communication Cross-Species

October 8, 2014 11:21 AM

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When it comes to communication, the animal kingdom is filled with sound. From barks to gobbles to shrieks, animals innately know how to communicate to one another. Yet a few species, including humans, can imitate new sounds and use them in appropriate social contexts. Known as vocal learning, this is one of the underpinnings of language. Now, scientists have found that killer whales possess this particular ability and can actually learn cross-species.

Before now, scientists have seen vocal learning in bats, some birds and cetaceans. Studying large marine mammals, though, has been a challenge. In this case, the scientists found that killer whales (Orcinus orca) can actually learn from other species. When they socialized with bottlenose dolphins, t...

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