Dolphin’s echolocation beams transposed in images revealed for the first time how dolphins may see a man using their echo sonar.
A man or any other object for that matter. Just that in this unique experiment led by Jack Kassewitz of the Speakdolphin.com, one researcher was submerged under water to meet one of the dolphins at the Dolphin Discovery Center of Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Dolphins, these intelligent marine mammals, are a mystery to the scientific community. Their language and their way of communicating has left scientists puzzled for a long time.
However, the newly conducted experiment offers a greater insight in the marine mammals’ communication and may pave the way for interspecies communication. The experiment yielded fascinating results, including two images that wowed the world. One image, created at the CymaScope laboratory in the United Kingdom reveals a rough image of what Amaya the dolphin saw. The second image is a computer enhanced version, revealing even more details of what Amaya the dolphin ‘saw’ using echolocation beams.
Such is the fascination exerted by dolphins’ communication that many popular culture movies and TV shows have allocated quite some space to treating this topic. Perhaps a new wave of dolphin-based popular culture is on its way. Jack Kassewitz, lead researcher on the experiment stated:
“Our recent success has left us all speechless. We now think it is safe to speculate that dolphins may employ a sono-pictorial form of language, a language of pictures that they share with each other”.
The research team set the stage for the experiment at the Dolphin Discovery Center in Puerto Aventuras. Here, Jim McDonough, one of the researchers was submerged underwater to meet Amaya the dolphin. Jim was submerged wearing a weight belt. Also, to avoid any unclarity or disturbances in the future images, he exhaled the air in his lungs. Absolute stability and no bubbles were the requirements for a clear picture.
Amaya showed up in the pool especially prepared for the research. When the dolphin directed the echo sonar waves towards Jim McDonough, another team set up all the devices needed to capture the signal. The recording captured with high specification audio equipment was then sent to the CymaScope laboratory. Here, the signal was imprinted on a water membrane. The first image thus obtained is the first ever in the world to render echolocation signals in an image.
Once it was computer enhanced, the image set left everyone speechless. Amaya the dolphin seems to have registered the diver fully, as the images show the silhouette of a person. The face or other details are not clear. What stands out are the surface features of the weight belt.
Photo Credits: Flickr