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Dolphins use 2 sound beams simultaneously for hunting and orientation

June 8, 2011 - Washington

Scientists from Sweden and the US have discovered that dolphins can produce two sound beams simultaneously, echoes from which help them in hunting and orientation.

By sending out high-frequency sound, known as ultrasound, dolphins can use the echoes to determine what type of object the sound beam has hit.

"The beam projections have different frequencies and can be sent in different directions. The advantage is probably that the dolphin can locate the object more precisely", said Josefin Starkhammar, a newly examined doctor in Electrical Measurements at Lund University who carried out the study together with scientists from San Diego.

Starkhammar's own guess is that the two sound projections come from the two different sound-producing organs. But she stresses that more research is needed to confirm it.

To help her in the study, she has also developed a device with 47 hydrophones- microphones for use in water.

"It is currently one of the best devices in the world for capturing dolphins' ultrasound in water", said Starkhammar.

The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters.


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