A Peek Into the Secret Life of Dolphins

Researchers from the University of Sydney have found a unique way to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a dolphin.

Using underwater cameras attached to eight dolphins on New Zealand’s coast, the team managed to get six hours of footage for each animal. Among the regular activities, the scientists found a number of lesser spotted habits, including the interaction between adults and calves. The cameras were stuck to the dolphins using suction cups, so no animals were harmed while making the footage you see below.

In addition to the videos and images captured, the cameras also allowed the scientists to log GPS location and depth. According to the team, this will allow them to see what effect shipping routes had on the stress levels of dolphins.

Here in Southern Africa, the Namibian Dolphin Project continues to research the vocal habits of dolphins. More specifically, the whistles and clicks of the local Heaviside dolphin. This relatively small species is found off the coast of Namibia and the West Coast of South Africa. Research into this topic started in the 1970’s, but due to the high frequency sounds produced by dolphins, there wasn’t much to be heard. A dolphin can produce a click with a frequency of around 120 KHz, while humans can’t hear much above 20 KHz.

Ongoing research is investigating the difference between clicks from dolphins in Namibia and the dolphins closer to home to see if there is any difference. While investigating these clicks, scientists may be able to tell whether these clicks are used for social conversation.

The more famous Bottlenose dolphin is able to produce a range of sounds, as well as distinctive whistles. These whistles keep dolphins in close contact, but it’s also speculated that each dolphin may have its own unique whistling sound, much like every person has their own name and surname.

If proved to be true, this could be a brand-new means of tagging dolphins to get an even greater insight into their day-to-day lives. It would no longer be necessary to physically tag an animal, as they could easily be identified via their unique whistle.

The University of Sydney produced a short film titled “The Secret Life of Dolphins” to share some of their findings. For superb insight into what they get up to beneath the waves, check out the short video below.

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