To communicate with the dolphins, all you need to do is play the flute

Music is the universal language par excellence. But could it help us communicate with animals? Here’s what a team of researchers from the Australian National University tried to find out. Their research shows that dolphins are sensitive to the high frequencies of certain instruments such as the flute, the piccolo and the Indian recorder. explanation.

Australian researchers team up with flautist Sally Walker to find out if dolphins are naturally curious about music. The team conducted their experiment in December 2021 in Port Stephens, New South Wales. Sally Walker began to play the flute, and a few minutes later, the researchers noticed that the marine mammals had moved closer to the research vessel. “A dolphin slid right under me at the same speed as the boat, and the rest of the group danced around it”said the flutist.

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“Dolphins live in a world of sounds”

If dolphins are not extremely intelligent, they are real experts in acoustics. They use sound to communicate, orient themselves, detect predators and prey. Their perception of the outside world comes from their high-frequency sonar, which is as good as bat radar. However, the scientific community still knows little about how these cetaceans react and respond to music.

“Dolphins live in a world of sounds; they communicate with each other by sending sound, a hologram of information reflected in their melon – a mass of fatty tissue in their foreheads – so I know that we as humans can communicate with dolphins through music »underlined Dr. Olivia De Bergerac, a biologist who specializes in dolphins.

Do you prefer Bach or Mariah Carey?

Researchers at the Australian National University now want to see what kinds of sounds they are most receptive to. They already know that they are particularly sensitive to high tones, even if high frequencies are more difficult to pass through water. It remains to be determined whether it would be possible to communicate with these sea creatures through music. Biologists plan to install underwater speakers to discover their musical preferences. Do you prefer the dolphins, for example, a Bach sonata or rather the vocalizations of Mariah Carey? For flautist Sally Walker, these animals may simply be attracted to seeing someone serenade from the front of a boat.

(ETX Daily Up)

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