Click Fine Structure

I have stated on my previous pages that sperm whales have the social vocalisations with the easiest structure to subject to analyse of any animal. An extensive search through peer reviewed research would bear this out, with the only complicating factor appearing to be off-axis effects.  The team behind the DAREWIN website, however, seems to have detected a possibility that would give lie to that.

According to them, the fine structure within each click tends to vary from click to click in a notably discrete fashion. This is exactly as you would expect if each click was a word. They point out that it is hard to imagine what function this would serve other than language. If verified, this would render each coda as a sentence type. A French group is, at this moment studying it, there being nothing, as yet, of a peer reviewed nature. If correct, you may well wonder how it could have been missed. I think I have the answer.

Sperm whale coda already show as much structure, information content, and specialty use as any other known non-human language. I suspect that this is another case of no one looking hard for further information channels, because the example of every other nonhuman animal would imply that we had already found its fullest extent.

Let me try to convey an idea of the magnitude of this complication. The DAREWIN team were interested in all cetacean vocalisations, and only settled on sperm whales as likely to be the most intelligent of them all because of the complexity of this internal click variation they discovered exceeded anything else they saw. Likewise, I only found impetus to create this website when I discovered that sperm whale coda showed fine tuning in their interclick intervals. In principle these two phenomena could be completely separate – in fact, if they are not related through language, that should be the default assumption.

Until this is resolved, this adds to the complexity of the task in hand. This topic leads naturally onto the next. The potential for off-axis effects is another potential consideration that we must address. see HERE

 

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