Sperm whale communication more complex than previously thought, new study

Sperm whale communication more complex than previously thought, new study

Scientists have discovered that sperm whales use a more complex system of sounds than we previously thought. This complexity is similar to human language.

Sperm whale sounds have hidden structures that add more meaning to their communication, according to a new study published on Tuesday in Nature Communications

The animals communicate using sequences of clicks called codas. While earlier studies found only a few types of codas based on the timing between clicks, this new study shows that codas are much more detailed.

The researchers identified two new features showing that whales change their clicks based on their situation.

The team created a “Sperm Whale Phonetic Alphabet,” with 18 rhythm types, five tempo types, and other features. This helps explain how whales make many different codas, with at least 143 combinations often used.

Earlier research found about 21 types of codas, but this study suggests that the sperm whale communication system can send a lot more information.

The research shows that sperm whales can use their clicks to represent various meanings. The way they combine different clicks is similar to how humans combine sounds to create messages.

These findings open the door for more research into what sperm whale clicks mean, possibly by playing sounds back to the whales and observing their reactions.

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