New Study Explores Orcas’ Ability to Imitate Dolphin Vocalizations

October 9, 2014 1:16 PM

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New Study Explores Orcas’ Ability to Imitate Dolphin Vocalizations

Only a handful of animal species on this planet are known to imitate the unique calls and vocalizations of others. Humans, bats, elephants, cats, birds, and seals are among these species, as are orca whales, according to a new study in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The study includes observations of three different orcas mimicking dolphin whistles and clicks in captivity in order to communicate with dolphin tank mates. A control group of seven orcas who shared tanks solely with other orcas was used to identify the differences between the communication methods of orcas living in different social configurations in captivity.

The study utilized recordings of vocalizations of orcas living in different social groups of either other orcas or dolphins. The researchers note that captive whales who lived in homogenized groups communicated using pulse methods of communication typically observed in all-orca pods. On the other ha...

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