• Question: Hi, I was wondering why dolphins do such high pitch squeks? thanks

    Asked by louloulorna to Akram, David, Gill, Jack, laurenceharwood on 16 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Jack Snape

      Jack Snape answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Dolphins use their squeaks for 2 things…

      1. Communication with each other

      2. ‘Echolocation’ .. This is an interesting one. Dolphins can send out sound waves and listen back to how they bounce of things in the ocean. This allows them to ‘see’ objects using sound … which is useful if the water is murky. I think the high pitch of the squeaks allows them to ‘see’ more detail in the object because the sound waves in a high pitched noise are closer together.

      It inspired humans to put ‘sonar’ into submarines … nature has a lot of clever ideas 🙂

    • Photo: Akram Alomainy

      Akram Alomainy answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Great answer Jack and I would add that people are learning from Dolphins and other creatures that use the ‘Echolocation’ technique to detect objects and radar technologies 🙂 Learning from nature is the best thing in science 😉

    • Photo: Laurence Harwood

      Laurence Harwood answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Jack has got it right. The higher pitched the sound, the shorter the wavelength and the greater detail the dolphin can “see”. objects that the sound has bounced off back to teh dolphin As dolphins hunt small fish that move very fast, often in murky water, they need high definition. That is why hunting dolphins give out very high pitched bursts of sound, as if they are excited (they might well be!). Dolphins also give out low noises as these travel for long distances through the water and these can be used to communicate with other dolphins a long way away or to chart the sea bed. Dolphins actually detect the returning sound using fatty organs around their lower jaw and this organ transmits the sound up to the inner ear of the dolphin.

    • Photo: Gill Menzies

      Gill Menzies answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      Jack’s answer is spot on – I love the diversity of species – we have an amazing world 😉