April 14, 2007

Experts Open Dolphin 'Chat Line' in Fla.

Found at SF
"A marine mammal rehabilitation facility opened a dolphin "chat line" of sorts Saturday, hoping to teach a deaf dolphin's unborn calf to communicate.

Castaway, as the stranded Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is named, has been recovering at the Marine Mammal Conservancy since Jan. 30. A battery of tests has confirmed she is deaf.

Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce to find food, socialize and defend themselves against predators.

"We asked ourselves `How do we get the calf to speak when we have a deaf mother?'" said Robert Lingenfelser, the conservancy's president.

They decided to electronically connect Castaway's habitat with a lagoon at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational facility a few miles down the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and connected via phone lines.

Castaway should deliver her calf in about a month.

"Even before it is born, we want the calf to have an idea of what normal dolphin vocalization is," Lingenfelser said."

1 comment:

Chuck Cliff said...

I once read an SF story about this guy who is trying to communicate with dolphins.

At the same time that he succedes, he realizes that his assistent is an alien.

It seems that the final test of a sentient race to be admited to the galactic union is to communicate with another species.

The guy is elated, this will garner him a platinum plated Nobel -- but no, it turns out that it wasn't humans who were being tested...