Whale Talk
发表时间:2010-7-22 21:00:07 来源:荣县中学 编辑:吕国生

The call of the killer whale may have a southern drawl, or a deep ocean twang, though you may not be able to detect it.

That is, the sounds made by a killer whale in one part of the ocean may be very different from the sounds of a killer whale from another area in the sea. Much as people from the southern United States sound different from New Englanders.

David Bain studies the underwater utterings of two killer whales at Marine World, in Vallejo, California. Despite their different dialects he says the mammals learned to communicate with one another by eventually learning to make each other's sounds. Inflection also colors meaning, just as it does with people.

Researcher Bain says," There's a lot of information in the tone of voice, how they say it, you can get a sense of whether they're being sarcastic or not. Yes they do have a tone of voice."

Researchers hesitate to call the sounds language, but the sounds clearly do help whales communicate with other whales and other mammals may even be picking up on it.

The ability of whales and dolphins to imitate sounds helps develop something of a cross-species language. When the dolphin Bayou was separated from the Orca, Yaka,Bayou began uttering Orca like sounds, presumably to get the whale's attention.

Researchers here say dolphins are such good imitators, one even learned to squawk like a bird.

Brenda McCowan tries to correlate dolphin behavior with their whistle like sounds. By recording and analyzing the sound patterns, she's also come up with what looks like an extensive vocabulary. She says," We found, using a statistical technique that produced about 102 whistle types, overall, their whistle types consist of that."

Although she is still not sure what any of it means, " We just don't know yet. We're slowly trying to pull apart the pieces, use of imitation, the importance of how whistles are organized, to find out how complex it is."

Researchers may be years away from learning what every fish in the ocean already knows. When the killer whale speaks, you'd better jump...




来源:荣县中学  编辑:吕国生
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