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Dolphins give themselves names by using signature whistles to broadcast their identities

DOLPHINS are the only animals besides humans that give themselves names, a zoologist says.

They have crafted a way of saying “this is me” by using unique signature whistles to broadcast their identities to each other, Dr Arik Kershenbaum believes.

Dolphins give themselves names, according to zoologists

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Dolphins give themselves names, according to zoologistsCredit: Getty

He told the Instant Genius podcast: “As they are growing up they make themselves a little whistle which is different from every other dolphin’s whistle.

“This becomes a representation of their name.”

The Cambridge University lecturer, who explores the phenomenon in his new book, Why Animals Talk, said whistles lets others know who is there — which is unsurprising as dolphins live within fluid social networks.

Dr Kershenbaum said these whistles are used to ‘broadcast their identities’ and ‘let others know who is here’.

He said: “Again, that’s not that surprising given this social network that they live in.

“They need to know, who are you? Are you a member of my group? Are you someone that I have worked with in the past?

“It is incredibly rare, in fact it’s the only instance we know of in the animal world, outside of humans where animals give themselves a name.

“Here they are actually crafting themselves their own, vocal, representation that they can use to say ‘this is me’.”

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