Cetacean vocal learning and communication

  title={Cetacean vocal learning and communication},
  author={Vincent M. Janik},
  journal={Current Opinion in Neurobiology},
  • V. Janik
  • Published 1 October 2014
  • Biology
  • Current Opinion in Neurobiology

Vocal learning in seals, sea lions, and walruses

Vocal learning in a social mammal: Demonstrated by isolation and playback experiments in bats

This work continuously recorded pups from birth to adulthood and found that, when raised in a colony, pups acquired the adult repertoire, whereas when acoustically isolated, they exhibited underdeveloped vocalizations.

Elephants and Sirenians: A Comparative Review across Related Taxa in Regard to Learned Vocal Behavior

This review covers the most important acoustic aspects related to vocal learning in elephants, manatees, and dugongs, as well as knowledge gaps that must be filled for one to fully comprehend why vocal learning evolved (or did not) in these distinctive but phylogenetically related taxa.

Vocal production learning in mammals revisited

The available evidence for vocal learning in mammals from the last 25 years is summarized, updating earlier reviews on the subject and highlighting the importance of quantitative comparisons of seemingly learned sounds with vocal repertoires before learning started or with species repertoires to confirm novelty.

A beluga whale socialized with bottlenose dolphins imitates their whistles

The case of a beluga whale that was housed with a group of bottlenose dolphins found that it began to imitate whistles of the dolphins, whereas one type of its own calls seemed to disappear.

The role of vocal learning in call acquisition of wild grey seal pups

This article investigated the impact of playing modified seal sounds in a breeding colony of grey seals to study how acoustic input influenced vocal development of eight pups and found that seals copied the specific stimuli played to them and that copies became more accurate over time.

Social calls provide novel insights into the evolution of vocal learning

The Neuroethology of Vocal Communication in Songbirds: Production and Perception of a Call Repertoire

Embracing the complexity of the vocal communication system of oscines will enhance the understanding of the brain areas that, until now, have mostly been studied in the context of song imitation.

Evidence suggests vocal production learning in a cross-fostered Risso’s dolphin (Grampusgriseus)

This is one of very few systematic cross-fostering studies in cetaceans and the first to suggest vocal production learning in the Risso’s dolphin, and suggests that social experience is a major factor in the development of the vocal repertoire in this species.

Production and perception of acoustic signals in captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) : contextual use of social signals and recognition of artificial labels

The results obtained during this thesis suggest that some social signals in the dolphin repertoire can be used to communicate specific information about the behavioural contexts of the individuals involved and that individuals are able to generalize their concept of identity for human-generated signals.



Killer whales are capable of vocal learning

The vocal behaviour of two juvenile killer whales, Orcinus orca, separated from their natal pods, are document, which are the only cases of dispersal seen during the three decades of observation of their populations.

Animal behaviour: Elephants are capable of vocal learning

Two examples of vocal imitation by African savannah elephants are described, showing a role for vocal imitation that has already been proposed for primates, birds, bats and marine mammals: it is a useful form of acoustic communication that helps to maintain individual-specific bonds within changing social groupings.

Whistle matching in wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

This report shows that wild, unrestrained bottlenose dolphins use their learned whistles in matching interactions, in which an individual responds to a whistle of a conspecific by emitting the same whistle type.

Vocal copying of individually distinctive signature whistles in bottlenose dolphins

This work studied the function of vocal copying in a mammal that shows vocal learning as well as complex cognitive and social behaviour, the bottlenose dolphin, and found no evidence for the use of copying in aggression or deception.

Bottlenose dolphins can use learned vocal labels to address each other

  • S. KingV. Janik
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2013
It is shown that wild bottlenose dolphins respond to hearing a copy of their own signature whistle by calling back, providing compelling evidence that a dolphin’s learned identity signal is used as a label when addressing conspecifics.

Call sharing across vocal clans of killer whales: Evidence for vocal imitation?

It is shown that call sharing across vocal clans occurs in orcas but is rare and that shared calls are structurally distinguishable from original call types in the absence of the groups originally producing the calls.

Convergence of calls as animals form social bonds, active compensation for noisy communication channels, and the evolution of vocal learning in mammals.

  • P. Tyack
  • Biology
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 2008
Pooling data on vocal imitation, vocal convergence, and compensation for noise suggests a wider taxonomic distribution of vocal production learning among mammals than has been generally appreciated.

Cultural revolution in whale songs

A unique and radical song change in the song of humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean off the Australian east coast is recorded, which suggests that novelty may stimulate change in humpback whale songs.

Individual right whales call louder in increased environmental noise

Changes in calling behaviour by individual endangered North Atlantic right whales in increased background noise are documented, affecting both the way whales use sound to communicate and the ability to detect them with passive acoustic monitoring systems.