Scientist Say Dolphins Call Each Other By Name

Most people know that dolphins are pretty freaking smart. But how smart? Well scientists are now saying that bottlenose dolphins call out the specific names of loved ones when they become separated from each other. Aww. Dolphins, they're just like us!

The study, which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, says that dolphins use specific whistles for each dolphin to communicate with each other. The way it works is that each dolphin has its own signature whistle to broadcast its identity and other dolphins can copy that whistle. When close dolphins are apart, they whistle for each other. Discovery News says:

The researchers said dolphins copy the signature whistles of loved ones, such as a mother or close male buddy, when the two are apart. These "names" were never emitted in aggressive or antagonistic situations and were only directed toward loved ones.

The whistle copies also always had a unique variation to them, so the dolphins weren't merely mimicking each other. The dolphins instead were adding their own "tone of voice" via unique whistling.

Dolphins can talk! Sort of. The study makes it clear that dolphins have a "very complex and sophisticated communication system." Name calling is a good start. [Discovery News via NPR, Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock]