posted on Dec, 8 2015 @ 10:07 PM
a reply to: mbkennel
Their language would not be sequential, grammatical like humans---optimized for continuous speech---but intermittent and symbolic. It could be
that they are naturally 'literate' but don't speak with words----but what we might call to be 'symbols'. Clearly some would be related to the natural
world observations --- the dolphin icon for 'fish' probably looks like what a real fish looks like to echolocation. But with time some could evolve to
be fully abstract.
Well said, though I wonder how many here will realize that a language comprising transmitted pictograms (as you suggest) would be significantly less
expressive and versatile than a language made up of phonemes, or the visual equivalent.
I suppose it's possible that dolphins do have a language like that, in which case they would be as 'clever' as us. However — speaking as someone
with a longstanding interest in cetaceans who is also a dedicated whale-watcher — I should be very surprised if this were the case.
There are two reasons. The first is that, observing dolphin behaviour in the wild has taught me that although these guys are very intelligent, they're
. They don't come across as people with flippers: not at all.
The second is that my favoured explanation for the emergence of human language is that it evolved by sexual selection. Male dolphins don't court
females as men do women; they assault them sexually. Admittedly this is an area where very little is yet known, but it would seem as if female-driven
sexual selection has very little to do with dolphin evolution.