Dolphins are the world’s second brightest creatures after humans and have many brain features associated with high intelligence. Biologists have now carried out two-way communication with dolphins in the wild in the first study of its kind.

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Dr Denise Herzing and colleagues at the Wild Dolphin Project in Jupiter, Florida, established a shared, primitive form of language using sounds, symbols and props.

Dr Herzing said:
‘Many studies communicate with dolphins, especially in captivity, using fish as a reward. But it’s rare to ask dolphins to communicate with us.
This is when the females have a lot of play time, before they are busy being mothers.’

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When a dolphin pressed a certain key with her nose, researchers would throw the corresponding prop into the water.

The spotted dolphins Dr Herzing’s team was playing with even recruited another species, bottlenose dolphins, to play the game.

The study was published in the Acta Astronautica journal.