A new experiment shows the way in which dolphins are seeing using sound. Scientists have been able to reproduce an image of a diver showing just how the dolphin saw it, using echolocation. More than that, scientists are now suggesting that dolphins might share these images among each other through a ‘built-in’ wireless connection which remains unknown to human researchers.
Jack Kassewitz, who led the research of SpeakDolphin.com, said that everybody in his team remained speechless by their recent successful experiment. He claims that dolphins use a language of pictures named ‘sono-pictorial’ which allows them to share with each other what they are seeing.
Researchers also believe that this revolutionary discovery might be an important step for inter-species communications.
The experiment has been conducted in Mexico, at the Dolphin Discovery Center of Puerto Aventuras. Amaya, a female dolphin has been studied as she was looking at a diver. The moment she saw him, Amaya started directing echolocation beams towards his location. The diver’s audio equipment has registered this signal.
More animals use echolocation to determine the shape of objects but nobody knows yet how accurate it is. When using echolocation, animals emit sound waves in the direction of an object and translate the echo into images.
Amaya’s echolocation signal has been sent to a laboratory in the UK – CymaScope, where other researchers translated the signal to a water membrane and then scanned the results with the help of a computer which enhanced the image.
CymaScope revealed the image of the diver like Amaya saw him using her echolocation. The instruments used the quasi-holographic sound’s properties and its relationship with water to capture the image.
The CymaScope, invented by John Stuart Reid, is able to imprint sound vibrations on the surface of ultra-pure water. Sound beams emitted by dolphins when they are scanning an object are modulated by the shape of the scanned object and can be translated into 2D images.
Scientists now believe that in the dolphin’s mind the image might appear much clearer and detailed but our technology is limited.
Kassewitz explains that the idea of the experiment came after previous experiments have shown that dolphins can identify objects from the sounds of other dolphins with an accuracy of 92 percent. This is how they got the idea that dolphins could share visual images with the help of sound.
With the help of CymaScope and these recent findings we might be able to actually communicate with dolphins sooner than ever hoped.
Image source: pixabay