When one of Earth’s smartest creatures vocalizes, it fuels a heated debate among scientists: Are dolphins actually speaking a complex language? Image © Brian Skerry/National Geographic
Above: Spotted dolphins swim off the northern Bahamas, where the waters are exceptionally clear. Three generations of these social animals—300 individuals over 30 years—have been the subject of the longest-running underwater dolphin study in the world, led by Denise Herzing.
Relative to body size, the brains of bottlenose dolphins, like these at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences in Honduras, are among the largest in the animal kingdom. Scientists are attempting to decode dolphins’ complex vocalizations.
Intensely social, dolphins work together on ingenious feeding strategies. Dusky dolphins off Patagonia herd anchovies into neat spheres and then take turns gulping. Two birds, a Magellanic penguin and a shearwater, join the frenzy.
Images are from the May issue of National Geographic magazine.
source National Geographic