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How Dolphins Communicate - Echolocation

Updated on June 3, 2012

How Do Dolphins Communicate?

How dolphins communicate are like us, human beings. They use sound, vision, taste and touch. They don't have the ability to smell, apparently. But how the communicate with sounds and whistles is very effective. They have several kinds of whistles. No wonder why they are categorized in intelligent animals. Some species of dolphins even can send the information about their identities through signature whistles. Chances are, they have their own typical whistles which enable them to recognize each other, or the whistles are only for letting another dolphins to know that there's another dolphin nearby. The scientists still don't know for sure. However, the whistles are used to coordinate the group for food hunting. This would make feeding much easier for them than to hunt alone.

Dolphin Communication is Much More Advanced Than Human Technology

Dolphins communicate with a system called echolocation or sonar. This is the exact same system used by submarines to navigate underwater. Only the dolphins sonar is much more advanced than human technology because it can get the accurate information about it's surroundings like the distance, size, and even the nature of the object.

Dolphins can communicate ever since they were a baby. A baby dolphin is already able to detect it's mother's whistles, soon after birth. By using their blowholes, air sacks, and valves, dolphins can produce such a wide variety of sounds. They know how to instruct, receive instructions, and then act accordingly. The complexity of the sounds answers how the whistles can be used across any types of dolphin. Even the frequency levels is approximately ten times beyond what human can hear.

Who Can Hear What Dolphins Communicate?

Dolphins echolocation's frequency is 120 kHz., whereas humans can only hear up to 20 kHz.. Dogs can hear a bit higher, up to 45 kHz.. Cats can hear up to 65 kHz and mice can hear up to 100 kHz. So, if dolphins use echolocation to locate human, that human can only feel the buzz from the wave because humans can't hear it. This means, the echolocation is pretty strong. Dolphins can get the precise information about distance, size, and the shape of a certain object only by a click. How is that even possible? That sound waves will hit an object and bounce back to the dolphin. That dolphin, can figure out the distance, size, and shape of the object by the lapse between the sending and the receiving of the sound.

Books to Know More about Dolphin Communication

How Dolphins Produce The Whistles to Communicate?

Dolphins have a hole upon their heads called blowhole. Below the blowhole, the are some sets of air sacs. Dolphins pass the air back and forth through those sets of air sacs. To make it simple, imagine you blow up a balloon, then pinch the end to let the air squeeze out. That's how the whistle is produced.

To do the echolocation, dolphins use a bi-sonar signal generator. Bi-sonar signal generator is located behind and below the blowhole. Dolphins have a part called "monkey lips" which is actually phonic lips. The phonic lips and dorsal bursae are used by the bi-sonar signal generator to vibrate together when air is exposed on the blowhole. This what creates the echolocation pulse.

Producing the whistle and pulse are all happen in the upper part of dolphin's head. Receiving the sound is a different story. Their lower jaw is a hollow with a lipid called acoustic fat. This part helps dolphins to determine the direction where the sound came from, just like human outer ears.

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      6 years ago

      Interesting how dolphins learn language like an instinct. If one day we decipher what their "speaking" means it'd be great to learn more about them.

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      7 years ago

      I love Dolphins, they are really intelligent creatures who can communicate to men. We still have to study and go a long way in understanding them.

    • profile image


      7 years ago



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