Can we talk to dolphins?

13 June 2017

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Cheeky dolphin

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Question

We keep hearing how smart dolphins are, have we ever been able to communicate with them in any meaningful way

Answer

Marine Biologist, Danni Green, dives into this final question from Chris.
Danni - There was a professor in the 1960s called John Lilley who tried to do this. He got his research assistant to cohabit with a dolphin, so she shares her space with a dolphin for about 6 weeks - the house was half flooded. She slept on a bed of salt water, she lived, she slept, she played with the dolphin - it’s name was Peter. Very controversial experiment, you wouldn’t get away with it these days. He had this theory that they’d be able to communicate with each other, they’d speak each other’s language; he even dosed it up with LSD. Unsurprisingly, he didn't get his funding renewed.
Chris - He just believed he did because he was so spaced out!
Danni - He wrote quite a few papers about this. There’s a paper about it in 1961 - he thought that we could communicate. But, more recently, they’re developing a device - interspecies communication and it’s called CHAT - Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry - and this is meant to facilitate communication between humans and dolphins. But, of course, it’s not proven at all that it will work!

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