This is very likely as close as we’ll ever get to communicating with an alien species, and it should give us some significant insight as to what exactly separates us from other animals.
No doubt the first message that we’ll get from a dolphin is “Your fly’s open.”
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Very cool , thanks for bringing it up. Still, is it that different from when we tried to teach apes sign language?? Do we expect dolphins to say more to us then apes?
As I understand it, apes can learn quite a few words, but they don’t seem to have any notion of grammar. Per the linked article, dolphins can make sense of differences in word order:
I like dophins, heck, I like most cetaceans, but this is kind of silly. She will only succeed in annoying the dolphins.
I’m sure they can learn different commands, but if they learned (for instance) “bring the fish to the boat” would they understand and correctly execute “bring the boat to the fish” the first time they heard it?
I tend to be rather skeptical of stuff like this, what with Clever Hans the Counting Horse and so on. And with Washoe, it appeared that the trainers were doing a lot of projection.
It would be interesting if the dolphins could actually convey some kind of insight that we couldn’t get from observation.
Obligatory Far Side moment
I’ve heard about something similar with, I believe, prairie dogs. Their language was decoded enough so that it was determined that they said stuff like “It’s the human with the red shirt”, “It’s the human with the blue shirt”, and “It’s the human with the red shirt but today he’s wearing the blue shirt.”
And they can not only warn each other not only when a fox is near, but they can communicate which fox it is.
I wish I knew more about it.
I hope we don’t get that message! I’m rather enjoying having a planet here rather than a bypass. (I finally watched the HHGTTG tv series last night)