The Best Memory in the Animal Kingdom   Leave a comment

  • Bottlenose dolphins have the best memory in the animal kingdom: remember for a lifetime, the "name" of their own kind.  Biologists are also sure that the dolphin will be longer remember this encounter as the zebra.
    Bottlenose dolphins have the best memory in the animal kingdom: remember for a lifetime, the “name” of their own kind. Biologists are also sure that the dolphin will be longer remember this encounter as the zebra.

Bottlenose dolphins communicate not only with names in the form of a signature whistle sogenannnten – you can have a life long remember such names

If someone has an exceptionally good memory, then you like to try the elephant in the animal comparison. Perhaps it should according to the latest scientific findings but better read: This person has a memory like a bottlenose dolphin.

Indeed, as the U.S. biologist Jason Bruck found out this subgroup of dolphins, who was among other things, “Flipper”, can remember more than 20 years at the “signature whistle” of other species – even if it is this also not seen or have. This is unprecedented in the animal kingdom and also provides another elephant in the shade.

Clever naming

It is also amazing but even this “signature whistle” itself, to explore the marine biologists Vincent Janik and Stephanie King for years. It was known that the clever mammals develop their own Namensruf in childhood and whistle the melody individual in front of them – like a child learning his name and tells him to anyone who asks.

The two scientists from Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, one of the world’s leading centers for the study of intelligence in animals, wanted to find out if and how this “name” still be used later. This King and Janik followed over several years groups of bottlenose dolphins off the Scottish coast, took their calls to and analyzed them.

After some time the animals before they played different signatures. The result of their experiment, the two biologists published in the journal “PNAS”: The animals did not respond to the names of other porpoises, whether it was now known or unknown. If the animals have a copy played their own signature, they responded immediately.

But the two researchers also report that another unknown group of bottlenose dolphins who meet on the high seas, would exchange intensively these signatures – similar to a group of people who think of each other. Above all, porpoises can also respond very specifically by name. They would thus be the first mammals except humans with this ability.

What is this ability, is obvious to Janik and King: The name used is the basis for ensuring that groups together could think of bottlenose dolphins. And that in turn is a prerequisite for the development of complex social systems.

How Janik and King also noted the name for a whole long Tümmlerleben (the animals are in captivity up to 50 years old) do not seem to lose importance. And this fact in turn forms the basis of the new study by the U.S. Marine biologists from the University of Chicago Jason Bruck, who wanted to find out how long the bottlenose dolphin whistled note the name of the same species.

For this, the researchers examined a total of 53 different bottlenose dolphins that lived in six different zoos and dolphin shows in the U.S. and in Bermuda. Previously, most of the animals had spent months or years in one of the other six institutions, together with other animals.

Bruck made for his in the journal “Proceedings B” of the Royal Society, something very similar to his Scottish colleague: He played the dolphins and foreign well-known signature whistles before and watched the animals responded. First, there were catcalls unknown until the animals began to get bored. Just then, he played the whistle of a former companions – and actually listened to the dolphins visible: They swam towards the speaker, and encircled him whistled at him – as if to coax him more catcalls.

Recognition in the test

This recognition took place even after extremely long time: That saw a female dolphin named Allie Bailey, the female with which it had lived together as young, even though both had not seen more than 20 years. Sex and relationship had no effect on memory.

What the Dolphins need their good memory is Bruck however not entirely clear. Perhaps it is for group formation on the high seas – or is it simply a by-product of their intelligence.


Posted August 8, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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