Dolphins' recognition abilities
Name: David R Tedford
In the future, I hope to become a marine biologist. I was curious if
dolphins that are in captivity can understand the voice of its trainer,
or if he merely hears the change in the sound of the trainer's voice.
Your question is more complicated than it sounds...
Certainly dolphins recognize their trainers, however, there's no way to know for certain
if other cues are more important than sound to a dolphin, like smell or sight. And yes,
dolphins will respond to voice, but whether they are responding to the words or the tonal
qualities of the voice (or again, maybe other cues like hand gestures), and to what extent, is also debatable. Probably, like most things, the dolphin responds to a COMBINATION of all of these factors.
Great question, thanks for using NEWTON! And good luck in your possible future marine
Tom F Ihde
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Update: June 2012