According to the new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dolphins call each other by names. The study, conducted by the Sea Mammal Research unit at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland found that dolphins are the only animals other than humans to use individuals names. The co-authors of the study, Vincent Janik and Stephanie L. King reported that dolphins have “signature whistles” they use as greetings when meeting up. The two researchers recorded the whistles of 12 dolphins and played the whistles back to each dolphin to record their reactions. According to the study, in eight of 12 cases, the dolphin replied when they heard their own whistle. In two cases, the dolphin responded to the whistle of a dolphin from its own pod–the group of other dolphins it travels with. “If we look at complex ability in communication in human language, one of the key features that is important to us is that we can copy sounds, we can invent new sounds,” study co-author Vincent Janik, a biologist at St Andrews University, told The Guardian. “We can then use those sounds and attach some kind of meaning to them and use them to refer to objects and to refer to external things in the world.” As a follow-up, the researchers want to see whether dolphins can learn other sounds in similar ways. Image Source: Angell Williams/Flickr