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Surfing dolphins Some of the most intelligent creatures on our planet live in the ocean.  We all know that dolphins are smart (see dolphin brains and cognition), but how smart are they really?  We know dolphins communicate among themselves (see introduction to dolphin acoustics), but we know very little about how their communication actually works.

Do they, as some people think, communicate in a way that resembles human language?  And if they don’t – would they be able to learn something close to human language, if we tried to teach them?

SilhouettesHow far would we be able to take it, if we focused on communication instead of front-flips and tail-rides?  Is it possible that we could establish some sort of two-way communication between humans and dolphins if we gave it a serious try?  It has been shown that bottlenose dolphins are able to learn some of the key elements of human language (for example, symbolic reference, and word order syntax) – but so far, it has mostly been tried in one-way communication schemes (see previous dolphin language research).  Two-way communication schemes have been applied, however, to other species.

It's about time to start investigating two-way communication with dolphins in a long-term, serious and rigorous research effort – Welcome to Dolcotec!

NEXT: Dolphin brains and cognition