Dolphin diplomacy

In a passably neat segue from yesterday’s post about the potential personhood of higher animals, here’s news of some research that purports to say not just that dolphins have their own language, but that they can use it to talk their way out of fights [via, not surprisingly, George Dvorsky again].

Now, I’m no marine biologist (and nor do I play one on television), but I rather suspect the conclusion here is a speculative one, especially given that the lede of the piece mentions that “[t]he study reveals the complexity and our lack of understanding about the communication of these marine mammals”. That’s not to say I don’t think it’s possible, but that I’m not sure there’s any way we could prove the assertion without having someone who spoke dolphin like a native… and given that a fair bit of their communication is based on body-language as well as sound (or so I was once told), I think that’s probably a fair distance in the future.

That said, if dolphins really can talk their way out of fights, they’re doing better than a lot of the humans I knew in my late teens, and we could probably do with a few of them on the UN security council.

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