Sperm Whales Use Different Dialects Of Click Language For Social Chat

Posted: Sep 9 2015, 6:38am CDT | by , Updated: Sep 9 2015, 5:51pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Sperm Whales Use Different Dialects of Click Language for Social Chat
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  • Sperm Whales Learn Language Cues in their Socialization Process

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It has been found by researchers that sperm whales learn language cues in their socialization process. They let out sounds which consist of a series of clicks to bond with their family members.

We humans have a tendency of seeing ourselves as the epitome of creation. However, the fact of the matter is that many other animals on the planet have capabilities and abilities that surpass us in their respective loci of influence.

Take sperm whales for example. They have to undergo a tedious learning process before they become full-fledged members of their respective clans.

Like many new kids on the block have to learn the local lingo and language of the streets, so sperm whales have to go through the grinder of good grooming on an aquatic level as well.

About two decades ago, the study into their behavior took off on a serious note. And today we know so much about these fascinating beasts of the deep blue ocean.

Sperm whale clans inhabiting the surrounding waters of the Galapagos Islands have a system of audible clicks through which they communicate with each other. The dialect is complex and youngsters take their lead from their elders in the family.

The experts spent time in the oceanic milieu studying these gentle giants and they found out a lot about them that they would not have otherwise known. For one thing, their socialization process is not as simple as it was once thought to be.

It is way more complicated. They tend to copy and mimic one another and that is how they get by. Females and calves live in close proximity to each other and they use a variety of clicks which are termed codas in scientific parlance. The whales use the linguistic codas on a regular basis to sort of chat with one another.

A closer reading of these whales’ behavioral repertoire showed the clicks to be like slang but much more arcane for humans to decode. The sounds produced by the sperm whales hold a rich cornucopia of information that will for the near future be a mystery to mankind.

These creatures of the liquid depths have a keen sense of smell, a very huge brain and they dive many leagues under the seas. They operate on sonar calls to each other. The clan members bond with each other based on the clicks and vocal idiosyncrasies they possess.

The clicks are almost like the Morse Code of yore. Over 20,000 coda samples were recorded for scrupulous study. Different dialects have been detected among the complex lexicon of these marvelous and massive mammals.

This study published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

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