Monday, April 30, 2007
"Chat line" to aid calf of deaf dolphin
From The Miami Herald
KEY LARGO - Any day now, Castaway the dolphin will deliver a calf in an idyllic lagoon birthing pen at the Marine Mammal Conservancy.
For dolphin caretakers, this is uncharted waters: Castaway is deaf. he brainstormed solution? The world's first dolphins' ``chat line.''
The calf will be able to hear and communicate with a pod of 10 other Atlantic bottlenose dolphins located three and a half miles away at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive education facility.
Highly sophisticated underwater speakers and microphones have been installed at each site. The sounds are captured and processed using special software that allows high-speed data transmission through a telephone line.
Like humans, experts believe, dolphins need to be taught language. Castaway does not make many sounds, and when she does it is monotone -- much like a deaf person's voice, Lingenfelser said.