- Dolphins teach babies a ‘signature whistle’ two weeks before birth
- The whistles are sounds made by individual dolphins that identifies them
- At about two months, the babies then go on to produce their own whistle
- Humans have a similar phenomenon, in which babies develop a preference for their mother’s voice in the last trimester
Many expectant parents will chat away to their babies in the womb.
But it appears that humans are not the only species who like to communicate with their young before they are born.
New research has shown that dolphin mothers sing to their unborn calves by singing their name.
The mothers teach their babies their ‘signature whistle’ before birth and in the two weeks after, which the animals use to identify one another.
Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi, have suggested that the mothers teach their babies the whistle as part of the imprinting process.
Signature whistles are sounds made by dolphins, used to identify different individuals.
Dolphin calves will eventually make their own individual whistle, but in the first stages of life, they use their mother’s.
Previous studies have shown that mother dolphins whistle their signature tune more in the days before birth.
However, this is the first study to look at how a mother dolphin whistles in the presence of other dolphins, before and after birth.
The researchers studied a dolphin mother at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California, who gave birth to a dolphin baby called Mira in 2014.
They recorded 80 hours of sounds from the mother, baby, and other dolphins in the enclosure, during the two months before birth, and two months after birth.
The recordings showed that the mother dolphin began increasing her signature whistle two weeks before birth, and continued to do so for two weeks after birth, before tapering off.
Creds to: https://www.dailymail.co.uk
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