Dolphins’ Many Ways of Communicating

by Alana Caire, age 10

Dolphins are more similar to people then we may realize.  They communicate, drink water, need air, and use body language like us.  They are also mammals like we are.

Dolphins communicate in many different ways.  They talk by making distinct calls to one another, but can also communicate nonverbally.  They change body position, clap their jaws, blow bubbles, and caress each others’ fins.

Kathleen Dudzinski, Director of the Dolphin communication project says,” It’s like studying an iceberg because they spend most of their lives underwater.’’

Scientists speculate about dolphins’ communication behavior and sometimes confuse an action that they see. For example, a scientist may see the female dolphin giving birth to its young, but mistake it for being hurt.

According to Denise Herzing, a dolphin scientist in the Bahamas, scientists suspect that dolphins talk to each other to warn them about predators or share information about where food can be found.  But it is difficult for the scientist to know for sure because an action that a dolphin makes can mean different things in different situations.

“I have not found a particular dolphin behavior that means the same thing every time you see it.’’ Dudzinski says.

[Source: National Geographic Kids]

I really enjoyed this article! I didn't know how similar dolphins and humans are. – Alex Lee , Madison, WI (2013-01-08 19:26)