According a new research whose findings were published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B this past February 19, not only do bottlenose dolphins have names, but they also use them on a fairly regular basis in order to get hold of each other.
The wildlife researchers who took the time to investigate the behavior of bottlenose dolphins explain that, soon after being born, dolphin calves learn to mimic a so-called signature whistle that only their mother can produce.
Later on, when separated from their mother, the baby dolphins take to producing this signature whistle with the sole purpose of triggering a reunion.
As Daily Mail explains, such copying behavior can also be displayed by male dolphins, who use it as a means to engage various responses from their swimming buddies.
Prior to their forwarding this theory that bottlenose dolphins have names and call each other by them, the specialists in charge of carrying out this research investigated the behavior displayed by several such marine animals inhabiting the waters off the coast of Florida.
Thus, whenever these dolphins were separated from each other in order for veterinarians to be able to perform various health checks, they would take to mimicking the signature whistle of each other, most likely wishing to become reunited.
Commenting on these findings, researcher Stephanie King argued as follows:
“Interestingly, signature whistle copying was only found in pairs of animals composed of mothers and their calves or adult males who form long-term alliances with one another.”
“The fact that animals are producing whistle copies when they are separated from a close associate supports the idea that dolphins copy another animal’s signature whistle when they want to reunite with that specific individual,” Stephanie King went on to add.
By the looks of it, information provided to this team of researchers by Walt Disney World also supports this theory that dolphins can in fact call each other by name when separated.