Humans talk to each other, dogs bark, and lions roar. Communication is a crucial element to survival, and for decades, it was thought that some of our friends under the sea existed without communication. A scientist has recently discovered that some of these sea animals that we thought to be silent are indeed communicating with each other.
Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen is a Ph.D. student at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. After reading about a turtle in the Amazon making noises, Jorgewich-Cohen decided to record his pet turtle to see if he could hear sounds. Remarkably, he did and then began his project. In his studies, he used microphones, video equipment, and a hydrophone, which is essentially a microphone that is meant for underwater usage, to record a variety of species, like sea turtles, lungfish, caecilian, and tuatara. He primarily focused his research on turtles, studying 50 turtles out of the 53 animals recorded. Jorgewich-Cohen traveled all over the world to various institutions to record sea animals that have been thought to be silent. It turns out none of them were mute.
The turtles would communicate when they wanted to mate or call each other from inside their eggs to synchronize their hatching time. “If they call from inside, they all come out together and hopefully avoid being eaten,” Jorgewich-Cohen said about sea turtles singing from inside of their eggs. Jorgewich-Cohen also observed tuataras, a reptile found in New Zealand, guarding their territory by making sounds. With this discovery, Jorgewich-Cohen made a significant conclusion. He believes acoustic communication in vertebrates is because all these various species are descended from a single ancestor from 400 million years ago. Sea turtles are not the only animal that scientists have discovered can communicate. Research on the stingray has also shown its ability to “talk.”
There is still much to study and understand about our animal friends in the water and on land. We have just begun to dig into the surface. Read Jorgewich-Cohen’s complete study to learn more. And stay tuned for more breaking news.