:: FOXNews.com | Researchers Teach Deaf Dolphin’s Calf to ‘Speak’ ::

Researchers Teach Deaf Dolphin’s Calf to ‘Speak’


Monday, April 09, 2007
Associated Press by FOX

KEY LARGO, Fla. —  A marine mammal rehabilitation facility opened a dolphin “chat line” of sorts Saturday, hoping to teach a deaf dolphin’s unborn calf to communicate.

Castaway, as the stranded Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is named, has been recovering at the Marine Mammal Conservancy since Jan. 30. A battery of tests has confirmed she is deaf.

Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce to find food, socialize and defend themselves against predators.

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“We asked ourselves ‘How do we get the calf to speak when we have a deaf mother?'” said Robert Lingenfelser, the conservancy’s president.

They decided to electronically connect Castaway’s habitat with a lagoon at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational facility a few miles down the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and connected via phone lines. Continue

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