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Dolphin Whistle Instantly Translated By Computer

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Jumping bottlenose dolphins.

New algorithms in development are aimed at analyzing animal sounds to determine if they transmit information.

Credit: True Wild Life

The Wild Dolphin Project is developing algorithms that will analyze animal sounds to determine if information is transmitted in an attempt to understand animal behavior.

The project is currently developing the Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT) system, built by researchers led by Thad Starner at the Georgia Institute of Technology. To date, CHAT has identified one sargassum whistle, which researchers think means seaweed. Its audio profile looks different from the whistle the researchers taught the dolphins, with the same shape but at a higher frequency.

CHAT is based on pattern-recognition algorithms, and is designed to analyze dolphin whistles and extract meaningful features a researcher might not think to look for. The researchers also want to analyze what dolphins' natural communications means, in addition to listening for invented whistles.

With better information-processing tools, researchers can analyze huge data sets of animal behavior for patterns, says University of California, Davis researcher Brenda McCowan. Other scientists are conducting similar research with white-cheeked gibbons and rhesus macaques.

From New Scientist
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