Sunday 22 October 2017

Is there something 'fishy' about researchers' claims that they've cracked how dolphins see the world?

An 'echolocation' image of a human being as seen by a dolphin Credit: SpeakDolphin
An 'echolocation' image of a human being as seen by a dolphin Credit: SpeakDolphin

David Kearns

Scientists believe they have recreated how dolphins see the world, and the results are pretty astounding.

Researchers from SpeakDolphin said they extracted data from recordings of the animals’ sonar and then used 2D prints of the sounds to create a 3D image.

Bio sonar, or Echolocation as it is known, is how dolphins, bats, and some other mammals gather information about what is in front of them.

It is essentially a call-and-response mechanism in which the dolphins make sounds that are reflected off objects and back to them, allowing them to decipher an object’s size, shape and distance, among other things.

SpeakDolphin used data recorded from a single dolphins’ echolocation to make two-dimensional images of what the dolphins are seeing and then used photo analysis to estimate what these objects looked like in three dimensions.

A female dolphin, named Amaya, who took part in the experiment, sent her sonar beams at a diver while a hydrophone was recording the outgoing echos.

One of the dolphins 'speaking' into a recoding device Credit: SpeakDolphin
One of the dolphins 'speaking' into a recoding device Credit: SpeakDolphin

“We’ve been working on dolphin communication for more than a decade,” explains Jack Kassewitz, research team leader and founder of SpeakDolphin.

 “When we discovered that dolphins not exposed to the echolocation experiment could identify objects from recorded dolphin sounds with 92 pc accuracy.

“Seeing the 3D print of a human being left us all speechless.

“For the first time ever, we may be holding in our hands a glimpse into what cetaceans see with sound. Nearly every experiment is bringing us more images with more detail,” Kassewitz added.

However, some have questioned the accuracy of the research, which has not been published in any accredited scientific journal.

For a paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, other scientists must sign off on it.

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment