Ever been at a party where you recognize everyone’s faces but can’t think of their names? That wouldn’t happen if you were a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The marine mammals can remember each other’s signature contact whistles—calls that function as names—for more than 20 years, the longest social memory ever recorded for a nonhuman animal, according to a new study.“The ability to remember individuals is thought to be extremely important to the ‘social brain,’ ” says Janet Mann, a marine mammal biologist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the research. Yet, she notes, no one has succeeded in designing a test for this talent in the great apes—our closest kin—let alone in dolphins.Dolphins use their signature whistles to stay in touch. Each has its own unique whistle, and they learn and can repeat the whistles of other dolphins. A dolphin will answer when another dolphin mimics its whistle—just as we reply when someone calls our name. The calls enable the marine mammals to communicate over long distances—which is necessary because they live in “fission-fusion” societies, meaning that dolphins in one group split off to join other groups and later return. By whistling, they’re able to find each other again. Scientists don’t know how long dolphins are separated in the wild, but they do know the animals can live almost 50 years. So how long do the dolphins remember the calls of their friends?Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To find out, Jason Bruck, a cognitive ethologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois, spent 5 years collecting 71 whistles from 43 dolphins at six captive facilities, including Brookfield Zoo near Chicago and Dolphin Quest in Bermuda. The six sites belong to a consortium that rotates the marine mammals for breeding and has decades-long records of which dolphins have lived together. The dolphins ranged in age from 4 months to 47 years and included males and females. Some of the animals had spent as little as 3 months together; others had been housed with each other for as long as 18.5 years before being separated and sent to another facility; and some had been apart for 20.5 years.At each facility, Bruck placed a submerged speaker in the dolphins’ pool and waited for one of the animals to swim past. He then played a recording of a whistle that the dolphin had never heard before. “They don’t pay much attention to signature whistles of dolphins they don’t know,” he says. But when he played the whistle of a dolphin they had once lived with, the animals often swam immediately to the speaker. “They will hover around it, whistle at it, seemingly try to get a response,” he says.Bruck also played recordings of an unfamiliar dolphin that was the same age and sex as the familiar animal—but these also did not elicit much of a response. “It was a striking pattern,” Bruck says. “They were potentially bored by unfamiliar calls but responded to whistles from the animals they’d known,” even if they had not heard the whistles in decades. “It seemed to be stimulating to them. In Bermuda, a mother dolphin even brought her calf over to listen to the whistles of dolphins she’d known,” Bruck says. Sometimes the dolphins got upset, slapping their tails in protest, when Bruck removed the speaker from the pool; but they quickly settled down again after he put it back in the water.In one case, Bruck played the whistle of Allie, a female dolphin at the Brookfield Zoo, for Bailey, a female in Bermuda. They had lived together at the Dolphin Connection in the Florida Keys when Allie was 4 and Bailey was 2. Twenty years and 6 months had passed—yet Bailey instantly recognized Allie’s whistle, Bruck says, as evidenced by her close attentiveness to the speaker.The dolphins often responded as if they were picturing their long-ago social pals, Bruck reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. For instance, two younger dolphins, Kai and D.J., became watchful and alert when they heard the whistles of Lucky and Hastings, two dominant males they had spent time with at the Brookfield Zoo. “Their whistles elicit a certain vigor and spirit in males that hear them,” says Bruck about the responses of Kai and D.J. “It looked as if those whistles put the image of those two dominant males in the heads of Kai and D.J.,” although he adds this has yet to be shown experimentally.The study demonstrates the “long-term stability of the dolphins’ whistles,” Mann says. “Even though dolphins may change in size and physical characteristics—getting scars and speckles—their whistles provide a reliable means of identification.” And that in turn enables them to “track relationships and connections between individuals,” she says. “We know they have relationships in the wild that last decades,” adds Richard Connor, an animal behaviorist at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. “Remembering a particular individual—even in the absence of that individual—could help them navigate their current social milieu.”Bruck’s study, however, did not test whether the dolphins mentally picture the correct dolphin when they hear his or her signature whistle. So far, scientists have only been able to demonstrate this ability in horses. Researchers from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom videoed individual horses while a herd member was led past them and out of view. The scientists then played the whinny of that horse or of a different horse. If the whinny was from the horse that had just walked by, the watching horse continued doing whatever it had been doing before; but if the whinny came from a different stable-mate, the watcher instantly turned to look in the direction of the call, as if saying, “that didn’t sound like you.”A similar experiment now needs to be done with dolphins, says Stephanie King, a biologist at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom. She wonders if the animals are paying attention to the whistles of their former pool-pals because the sounds are familiar—or because they “evoke a mental representation of the absent animal in the dolphin’s mind.” In other words, does Kai mentally picture Lucky when he hears the dominant male’s brassy whistle erupting from the speaker? Or does he merely register, “That call takes me right back to Chicago.” Stay tuned—Bruck has a test in the works to find out.
Posted on March 31, 2014November 7, 2016By: Dr. Luther-King Fasehun, Technical and Policy Lead, The Wellbeing Foundation AfricaClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, what does the future hold for international maternal mortality targets? The MHTF is pleased to host a blog series on post-2015 maternal mortality goal setting. Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring responses and reactions to proposed targets from around the world. Please share your thoughts with us!It is no longer news that Nigeria is a peculiar country, a nation with huge human and natural resources, and whose diversity of peoples and internal geographies is a blessing. Sadly, it is also not news that the country represents at least 10% of the global maternal mortality burden, with a currently estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 487 per 100,000 livebirths (as at 2011). However, the well thought-out targets of the Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) Working Group present the country with an unprecedented opportunity to change the tide, improve livelihoods for its women and families, and aim to eliminate preventable maternal mortality within a generation, harnessing the right tools and interventions, at the right scale and quality, as well as building on the success factors in the chase for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the harnessing of a burgeoning private sector and surging political will for improved health outcomes for women, families, and communities.Based on the EPMM Working Group targets, the proposed MMR target for Nigeria is ‘less than 100 per 100,000 livebirths by 2035, with country-specific milestones, with the expectation that Nigeria will cross one milestone within every 5 year interval.’ For Nigeria, I humbly recommend that the country-specific 5 year interval milestones be context-driven on a State by State basis, given that Nigeria has 36 States, with one Federal Capital Territory (FCT, Abuja). While the federal government provides strategic guidance and robust supportive frameworks for implementation of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) interventions for the entire country, the infrastructural and health systems challenges of Nigeria, as well as the resources available to mitigate these challenges, are mainly State-driven. More so, because of the vast population and heterogeneity of Nigeria, as well as the strategic importance of the country to the attainment of global goals, I wish to strongly recommend that the EPMM Working Group sets State-by-State targets, working in partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, and governments of all the 36+1 States.A State-by-State framework must not shy away from the interconnectedness of States, and the virtual nature of geographic borders, especially because of the very mobile nature of Nigerian women and families, as well as unavoidably shared natural resources, for example. To this end, there should be significant cooperation and sharing of insightful knowledge, under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health, and with the assistance of NGOs, CSOs, bilaterals and multilaterals. In this manner, Nigeria presents a window of opportunity to show the world a model that works to eliminate inequities to the last mile, helping to reach global set goals and targets for maternal mortality ratio (MMR) reduction.The adoption, last year, of the Maternal Death Review (MDR) surveillance mechanism, at the National Council on Health (NCH) meeting, marked a watershed in the history of Nigeria, as it demonstrated a readiness for evidence-based policy frameworks that will mitigate Nigeria’s huge maternal mortality burden. This policy adoption is being followed through with full vigour. Even more recently, the Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage promises a new guiding light for the elimination of inequities and barriers to access to healthcare, especially at the primary healthcare level, where the key to unleashing tremendously scaled-up interventions, to save the lives of mothers and children, exists.If you would like to submit a guest post for to our ongoing series exploring potential goals for maternal health in the post-MDG development agenda, please contact Natalie Ramm: email@example.com.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Michelle Yeoh has officially joined the cast of James Cameron’s Avatar sequels. Yeoh’s character is a scientist named Dr. Karina Mogue, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cameron confirmed the news in a statement, saying “Throughout her career, Michelle has always created unique and memorable characters. I look forward to working with [her] to do the same thing on the Avatar sequels”. This role will add to her long and diverse acting career, which includes an appearance in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and a starring role in the highly lauded 2000 martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She also appeared in the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians and will be starring in a spinoff of Star Trek: Discovery focusing on her own character. Written and directed by James Cameron, Avatar 2 stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Edie Falco, Kate Winslet, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis. The film is slated to release on December 18, 2020. Avatar 3 is expected to follow on December 17, 2021. Source: CBR