Dolphin Song

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    I posted a short video of a pod of wild spinner dolphins chirping and clicking in Lanai'i Hawaii. You can hear the volume directionally as they point at the camera.

    I took 40 videos and countless photos as I swam with them for about 4 hours on Jan 1 and 3. I will post more as it is fascinating to look at some of their interaction patterns in detail on video. At the time, it was like watching a flurry of bullet-time activity from The Matrix.

    Strangely, the YouTube transcoding of the baby dolphin video lost all of the high notes, and thus most of the dolphin sounds.

    And by strange coincidence, as I am going through the video a few nights ago, Photonquantique posted a puzzle of a strange imaging technology, and it turns out to be a CymaScope, designed to visualize the lexicon of dolphin language.

    Comments from the researchers:

    “There is strong evidence that dolphins are able to ‘see’ with sound, much like humans use ultrasound to see an unborn child in the mother’s womb.

    The team has recognized that sound does not travel in waves, as is popularly believed, but in expanding holographic bubbles and beams.

    I have long held the belief that the dolphin brain, comparable in size with our own, has specialized in processing auditory data in much the same way that the human brain has specialized in processing visual data. Nature tends not to evolve brain mass without a need, so we must ask ourselves what dolphins do with all that brain capacity. The answer appears to lie in the development of brain systems that require huge auditory processing power. There is growing evidence that dolphins can take a sonic 'snap shot' of an object and send it to other dolphins, using sound as the transmission medium. We can therefore hypothesize that the dolphin's primary method of communication is picture based.

    I feel certain that dolphins would love the chance to speak with us—if for no other reason than self-preservation. During my times in the water with dolphins, there have been several occasions when they seemed to be very determined to communicate with me. We are getting closer to making that possible.”

    Speaking of inter-species communication, I have a date with ASIMO tonight. Very exciting. I will not covet its power supply.

    julian9, malaparte, Jim Somsel, and 43 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. biotron 64 months ago | reply

      great pictures / videos / research article, by gum!

    2. aeroculus 64 months ago | reply

      thanks for posting the video...watching the synchronous movement is mesmerizing, and I can certainly see the Matrix reference.

      Reminds me of a fantastic lecture that I attended many years ago as a undergad by Dr. Frank Fish (although he studies mostly marine mammals)

    3. art hunter [deleted] 64 months ago | reply

      Great shot!

    4. biotron 64 months ago | reply

      ok then :

      cam 11



      edit: obviously this no longer makes sense with a corrected typo. happy new year to you, glass!

    5. biotron 64 months ago | reply

      in partially-related news, check out this link to 43mins 30secs of searing, hypnotic, analog-synth impersonating bliss from the Weddell Seal - which also features in the wonderful Herzog documentary Encounters at the End of the World.

    6. r o s e n d a h l 64 months ago | reply

      You'll be interested in "The Cove," a documentary premiering at Sundance this year. Here's a link to an interesting article about what it took to get the footage:

    7. jurvetson 64 months ago | reply

      rosendahl: Awesome. Wish I was there. I will share this with some friends I know at the film festival.

      biotron: love that last link trailer. Just added to Netflix queue.

    8. Itotti69 64 months ago | reply

      Magic capture !

    9. calamityjan2008 64 months ago | reply

      Wonderful shot, wonderful commentary, can't wait to watch the videos. Thank you so much....I , too, love dolphins and whales and think they are the lords of their domain much as man is on land. Have you read the book: Mind in the Water? I think you'd like it.
      I'm so envious of your swimming with the dolphins experience, but happy you shared it with us!

      Seen in: I Saw The Light!

      Your photo is invited to

      Fat Bee & Dancing Gull Awards (INVITE ONLY) Post 1/ Award 3

      You have made the Dancing Gull HAPPY!
      Please tag your photo with FBDG

      You are my winner!
      Please add this photo to

    10. Gone-Walkabout 64 months ago | reply

      try posting it on they seem to have better audio quality, let a lone video quality

    11. Kim Scott-0 64 months ago | reply

      the rays of light are just beautiful. Great shot. I love your Hawaii pictures.

    12. jurvetson 61 months ago | reply

      thanks y'all...

      and the most unusual blog reuse of this photo today on Boing boing about dolphins vs. Somali pirates

    13. rivadock4 59 months ago | reply

      Nice write-up. That's a great poster like photo.
      The World Through My Eyes

    14. timothysschenck 59 months ago | reply

      very cool shot.

    15. Ovidiu H. 59 months ago | reply

      Very beautiful shot. Well caught.
      Have a fine Sunday.
      Seen in the group"1-2-3" ( ?² )

    16. Dr.Fitz! → (Trying to catch up again!!) 59 months ago | reply

      this is just stunning! how much luck can you have! what sort of equipment did you use? great clear sight!

    17. solerena 42 months ago | reply

      fantastic information - about dolphin's songs...very cool!!! have not seen this one before...

    18. 15 months ago | reply

      There's something really magical about this image - and we had to make it our featured image for our article on swimming with dolphins.

      Thanks so much for sharing with CC and let us know if you're happy with the attribution.

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