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The Cute Reason Why Dolphin Moms Sing to Their Babies Before They're Even Born

They're not unlike human parents in this way.

Dolphin mothers have something major in common with human moms: They both speak to their unborn babies.

LiveScience reported that researchers found that in the days before delivery — and two weeks after birth — dolphin moms repeatedly sing their own signature whistles.

These whistles are unique to each dolphin, so it's basically the equivalent of a human mother repeating "mama" over and over to her child so the baby knows what to call her.

While dolphin moms start this singing before their babies are even born, they also carry it on in the couple of weeks after delivery.


And, in that same timeframe, fellow dolphin pod members refrain from using their own signature whistles too much. Researchers hypothesized they do that to keep the sound field clear for the baby.

That way it's just hearing its mom's whistle and not getting confused by any other dolphin sounds.


Once those two weeks ended, the other dolphins picked their noises back up while the mom stopped singing hers quite so much.

LiveScience noted that baby dolphins will eventually develop their own whistle as they grow up, but it makes sense that their mothers would want their calves to know what their own personal sound is like.

Human mothers are also known to speak to their babies in the womb. The Today Show reported that research has found that unborn babies can hear in the womb and recognize those same sounds after they're born.

Perhaps dolphin babies can as well.


But dolphin moms don't only teach their babies how to whistle. According to the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, calves stay with their mothers for three to six years after birth. During that time, mom is teaching them how to hunt, stay safe and navigate their waters.

Dolphin pods take bonding very seriously. As Azula previously reported, some male dolphins will overlap their pectoral fins while swimming, in the dolphin equivalent of holding hands.

Too cute.


And social bonds are so strong for pods that dolphins will mourn together when they lose one of their own, as Azula recently reported.

In fact, 92.8 percent of all documented cetacean mourning exhibitions come from dolphins, according to Smithsonian.

And it seems that sense of family structure and bonding begins for dolphins before they're even born.

It all starts with the gentle whistling songs of their mother while they're in the womb.


Add your name right now to make a difference for dolphins, whales and other marine mammals with Oceana.

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