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Dolphin Voiceprints

February 2, 2009

New technology turns dolphin sounds into 3-D images.


Dolphin talk in 3-D. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

New technology may help scientists decode dolphin communication. Florida-based dolphin researcher Jack Kassewitz and British acoustic engineer John Stuart Reid are analyzing dolphin sounds with an instrument called a CymaScope. The scope has a thin membrane that vibrates as sound passes through it. Then it converts those vibrations into a 3-D, high-definition image. Kassewitz hopes the unprecedented detail will solve some mysteries.

We believe that we’re going to be able to take those sounds and one, connect them to labels, or what we would in human terms call words, but also to use them much like fingerprints, and have markers within them that would allow us to identify certain specific animals within a pod.

He says understanding how the dolphins communicate will help humans protect them. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.