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Dolphins & Whales Squeal, But Why?

Dolphins & Whales Squeal, But Why?

Dolphins and whales have their own “Happy” song, according to scientists who have translated the animals’ high-pitched sounds as squeals of delight.

Researchers at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego originally thought the sounds were signals that food was present. But, when dolphins and beluga whales emitted the same squeals after a successful training mission, scientists interpreted the sounds as “whoops” of triumph, according to U.S. cetacean expert and author Dr. Sam Ridgway.

Ridgway has spent over 50 years studying and training cetaceans, and rewarding them with fish treats. After his wife suggested that the squeals reminded her of delighted children, Ridgway wondered if the sounds could be expressions of delight.

Ridgeway and his colleagues then analyzed past recordings of dolphins and whale experiments and found a connection between the squeals and the release of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure.

“We think we have demonstrated that (the victory squeal) has emotional content,” says Ridgway in an article in the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Keep dolphins and whales happy by protecting their environment. Sign this petition to help stop the construction of a newly proposed dam that could wipe out the rare Irrawaddy dolphin.

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Environment, Nature, Wildlife, , , , ,

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Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon, creator of, is an award-winning journalist, avid gardener and fly-fisher. She lives in Northern Virginia on a half acre that always needs weeding. Please visit her on Twitter (@kaplan_lisa) and Facebook (Lisa Kaplan Gordon)


+ add your own
1:06AM PST on Nov 11, 2014

Thank you!

6:09PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Hear that, Japan?

6:06PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Petition closed? Seems half of all petitions, on Care2, R closed :/

9:02AM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

ty for sharing

10:02AM PDT on Aug 28, 2014


8:15AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Lovely lovely creatures.

4:13PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

Petition closed?! Thanks for sharing.

2:26AM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

They do talk to each other And dolphins name other dolphins and call them by name.

9:12AM PDT on Aug 24, 2014

Thank you~
I love dolphins and whales.

4:19AM PDT on Aug 24, 2014


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people are talking

Good reminders, thanks. Read your labels!

Thanks for sharing.

thankyou thankyou...careeer is my mine focus at the moment


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