Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication

Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication


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Exciting new technologies and research methods help scientists unravel the mysteries of dolphin communication, intelligence, and culture

Dolphins have fascinated humans for millennia, giving rise to an abundance of stories and myths about them, yet the actual details of their lives in the sea have remained elusive. In this enthralling book, Kathleen M. Dudzinski and Toni Frohoff take us into the dolphins’ aquatic world to witness firsthand how they live their lives, communicate, and interact with one another and with other species, including people.

Kathleen M. Dudzinski and Toni Frohoff are scientists who have collectively dedicated more than 40 years to studying dolphins beneath the ocean’s surface, frequently through a close-up underwater lens. Drawing on their own experiences and on up-to-the-minute research, the authors show that dolphins are decidedly not just members of a group but distinct individuals, able to communicate with one another and with humans. Dudzinski and Frohoff introduce a new way of looking at, and listening to, the vocabulary of dolphins in the sea, and they even provide an introductory “dolphin dictionary,” listing complex social signals that dolphins use to share information among themselves and with people. Unveiling an intimate and scientifically accurate portrait of dolphins, this book will appeal to everyone who has wanted a closer glimpse into the hearts and minds of these amazing creatures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300121124
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 10/14/2008
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kathleen M. Dudzinski, Ph.D., is director of the Dolphin Communication Project and co-editor of the journal Aquatic Mammals. She serves on the adjunct faculties of the University of Southern Mississippi, Alaska Pacific University, and the University of Rhode Island. She lives in Stonington, CT. For more info about the author and the book click here.

Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., is Executive Director of TerraMar Research, research director of the Whale Stewardship Project, and a Faculty Affiliate for the Kerulos Centre. She is the co-editor of Between Species: Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond. She lives in Seattle, WA. For more information about Dr. Frohoff click here.

Table of Contents

Foreword Marc Bekoff ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 A Dolphin's Life 11

Chapter 2 The Expressive Dolphin 36

Chapter 3 Eavesdropping 63

Chapter 4 Beyond the Dolphin's Smile 88

Chapter 5 Where Humans and Dolphins Meet 116

Chapter 6 Communicating Conservation 147

Appendix 1 A Behavioral Guide to Dolphin Signals 163

Appendix 2 Etiquette for Interacting with Dolphins 166

Appendix 3 List of Scientific Names of Species Mentioned in the Text 169

Notes 171

Glossary 187

Bibliography 189

Illustration Credits 215

Index 217


A conversation with Kathleen Dudzinski and Toni Frohoff:

Q: What inspired both of you to make the study of dolphins your life’s work?

Toni: It was the mind of the dolphin that intrigued me the most. I wanted to know how these amazingly intelligent animals communicated with each other and with us. But it is the heart of the dolphin that motivates me to return to the sea for more. By understanding dolphins as individuals, I’ve observed a diverse and rich complex of emotions that is belied by their permanent “smiles.” I am therefore inspired to learn how to better protect these smart and passionate mammals.

Kathleen: I have always loved science, the ocean, and animals. A college internship studying dolphins and whales showed me that I could merge these three passions, and so I jumped at the opportunity to pursue research on dolphin social behavior.

Q: Are there specific challenges you confront in observing dolphins, and what are they?

A: When we observe wild dolphins, the first challenge is finding them. The ocean is vast with many places to hide. Observing dolphins noninvasively is another challenge, especially when so many individuals are so very inquisitive of us underwater. Having the correct tools to document their behavior and vocalizations has been yet another challenge. But new technologies are helping in this respect. The biggest challenge of all is just spending time underwater: we can only visit their aquatic world for short bursts.

Q: What is unique about the way that dolphins communicate?

A: Their bells and whistles and their use of sonar are truly impressive. Most fascinating is that dolphins use touch and behaviors such as jaw clapping as forms of communication.

Q: What do you hope readers will learn from reading Dolphin Mysteries?

A: We hope readers will enjoy the journey we’ve experienced in studying these magnificent creatures and gain a better understanding of the unique requirements of dolphins and their ocean home. We have to strive for better protection of the world’s marine ecosystems and the animals in them. Also, dolphins deserve to be recognized and protected as individuals as well as in populations.

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