Dolphin Observed Talking With 'Porpoises' for The First Time

Dolphin Observed Talking With 'Porpoises' for The First Time

Updated on March 29, 2022 19:41 PM by Ella Bina

Adopted Family Of Harbor Porpoises

The Firth of Clyde is Scotland's west coast, a large saltwater inlet home to thousands of harbor porpoises and one dolphin named Kylie. After 14 years away from her species Kylie has spent so much time around porpoises that she’s even started to sound like them. Her vocalizations include high-pitched click bursts associated with porpoises instead of the whistles and pulse calls more commonly seen in dolphins.

Cross-Species Communications

The cross-species communication between Kylie and her porpoise pals is the subject of a paper published in Bioacoustics titled “I beg your pardon? Acoustic behavior of a wild solitary common dolphin who interacts with harbour porpoises.”In it, researchers discuss the curious case of Kylie, the common wild dolphin who lives in the waters off Scotland's Firth of Clyde.Although common dolphins are abundant in Scottish waters, Kylie has not been observed with other common dolphins as they do not often enter the Firth of Clyde.

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One Type Of Sound

Harbor porpoises produce one type of sound characterized by high-frequency stereotyped calls, compared to common dolphins, which have a diverse vocal repertoire, including making whistles, echolocation, and burst pulse sounds.Porpoises communicate with narrow-band, high-frequency clicks, known to those in the clicking cetacean business as NBHF clicks. On the other hand, Dolphins like to swim around whistling, sound porpoises never make.

Co-Author Of National Geographic Report

Upon reviewing the recordings, the researchers realized Kylie “definitely identifies as a porpoise,” National Geographic reports co-author on the paper David Nairn, who studies porpoises in the area, said. Furthermore, communication between Kylie and the porpoises had a rhythm indicative of a conversation, though exactly how much information is portrayed in these chats is unclear.

Kylie With Her Pod

Precisely why Kylie was separated from her pod, to begin with, isn't known, but illness, injury, and adverse weather have all been linked to isolated cetaceans.  Kylie has interacted with porpoises in the Firth of Clyde for at least 14 years. During this time, the dolphin has been exposed to porpoise vocalizations that have facilitated production learning.

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