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Scientists discover sperm whales communicate through a sort of “phonetic alphabet”

Scientists have discovered that sperm whales communicate through a sort of “phonetic alphabet”, enabling them to build a rough equivalent of what humans refer to as words and phrases.

The study, published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, involved sperm whales living around the Caribbean island of Dominica, describing how they communicate by squeezing air through their respiratory systems to make rapid clicks resembling Morse code, with sets of the noises making up the basic building blocks of language.

The researchers said that millions and possibly billions of whale codas would be needed to collect enough data to try to work out what the whales are saying, expecting that artificial intelligence (AI) to help speed the analysis, according to the study.

Sperm whales have the biggest brains of any animal on the planet – as much as six times the size of an average human brain

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