Thursday, June 14, 2007

Deaf "Castaway" Gives Birth to "Chat Line"

A deaf dolphin by the name of Castaway has given birth to a healthy calf named Chat Line. Scientists at the Marine Mammal Conservancy (MMC) in Key Largo, Florida were worried that Castaway wouldn't be able to teach Chat Line the proper survival skills and vocalizations needed to "talk" to the other dolphins. MMC president Robert Lingenfelser said he doubts that Castaway is able to process her calf's sounds. "Castaway's vocalizations are not normal. She speaks in a monotone, similar to the way that people who cannot hear speak."

The MMC set up a "chat line" that allowed dolphin sounds to be heard by the baby dolphin while it was still in the womb in the hope that the baby will learn before entering the real world. So far, mother and son have been sending sounds to one another, although the caretakers doubt the Castaway understands anything Chat Line is saying.

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