Sure, dolphins use sonar, whiz through the ocean at incredible speeds, and battle sharks. But can they chat? Last week, a study published in Russia’s St. Petersburg Polytechnical University Journal: Physics and Mathematics claimed to have recorded two dolphins doing just that. Two Black Sea bottlenose dolphins, named Yasha and Yana, exchanged a series of vocal pulses that resembled “a conversation between two people,” wrote the study’s author, Vyacheslav Ryabov, a senior researcher at the T. I. Vyazemsky Karadag Scientific Station. What’s more, Yana and Yasha were exceedingly polite, listening to one another at turns without interrupting.
“As this language exhibits all the design features present in the human spoken language, this indicates a high level of intelligence and consciousness in dolphins, and their language can be ostensibly considered a highly developed spoken language, akin to the human language,” Ryabov wrote. The study inferred that each pulse conveyed a distinctive meaning. “In this regard, we can assume that each pulse represents a phoneme or a word of the dolphin’s spoken language.”