American Oceans

Humans Are Coming Closer To Understanding Whale Languages Thanks To AI

a sperm whale swimming underwater

The study of whale languages, particularly that of sperm whales, has shown significant progress with the help of advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. These powerful tools have allowed researchers to analyze thousands of recorded sperm whale vocalizations, termed as codas, captured through hydrophones placed on whales across various time frames.

One of the leading scientific projects in this domain, Project CETI, focuses on using AI to decode and understand whale communication. The primary goal is to discover patterns, acoustic properties, and frequency peaks that could unveil the meaning behind whale vocalizations. Among the key findings, researchers have identified vowel-like sounds within whale vocalizations, indicating a potential resemblance with human speech.

Sperm whales possess a spermaceti organ that plays an essential role in generating clicks, which are the main components of their communication. By utilizing new technologies like drones and AI-powered analysis, researchers can unravel new aspects of whale languages. This may ultimately pave the way for interspecies communication and foster a deeper understanding of the complex social relationships among whales.

Marine biologists such as David Gruber and Shane Gero, together with linguists, are working relentlessly to explore the evolutionary, environmental, and biological factors that influence the development of whale languages. As the understanding of whale communication and the language expands, it can potentially impact various aspects of marine science, technology, and environmental preservation. The current progress in this field is undoubtedly a remarkable breakthrough in both cetacean and linguistic research.

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