Humans are accustomed to "baby talk". Parents often speak in high pitched voices or slow and easy to immerse their children in human language. This is because babies respond to our pitches and visual cues even before they can understand words. Apparently, they're not the only ones like that. A new study found that dolphins also change their vocalisations to create their own "baby talk" when communicating with their calves.
To reach this conclusion, the scientists looked at data collected from wild bottlenose dolphins over 34 years. Just like humans call each other by name, dolphins also have their own unique whistle. However, researchers found that when a mother dolphin whistled near her pup, the call was high-frequency, long-range, and very similar to human baby speech.
This has led scientists to wonder if dolphins change their vocalisations for the same reasons humans do. The purpose is to immerse children in communication with dolphins. Like humans, dolphins grow slowly and spend a lot of time with their caregivers. Dolphin vocalisations are also very complex, so it would take a lot of practice for the calves to master them.