Vocalization of Bottlenose Dolphins
Helen Magee, Biology 342 Fall 2007
Jumping Bottlenose Dolphin(2)
What distinguishes a dolphins vocal abilities from most other mammals, escept for humans, is their ability to mimic. Dolphins, like humans, can reproduce sounds that they hear, which is known as mimcry. The phylogeny page has more information about the dolphins ability to vocalize in comparison to that of other species. You'll also find out about what causes variations in vocalization among different populations of Bottlenose dolphins.
The vocalization of a dolphins is a learned behavior. The Bottlenose dolphin's ability to mimic allows it to learn to produce different sounds. Several studies have shown that vocalization is learned though mimcry, which you can learn more about on the ontogeny page.
One really interesting aspect of the mechanism of dolphin vocalization is their ability to produce more than one sound at the same time. When they are producing the click vocalization, they came whistle while still making the clicking sound. Find out exactly how they can do this on the mechanism page.
Dolphins can produce several types of vocalizations, including whistles, click-creaking, click trains, whistles, and a series of sounds know as quacks, blats and squawks. To find out more about what each of these sounds are used for, check out the adaptation page.