Most of us can recognize our friends with at least two of our senses: you probably know your friend’s face and the sound of his voice, for example. For more intimate relationships, you may even know the smell of their deodorant, perfume or other characteristic fragrances.

But dolphins bring a different meaning to the game of identification. New research shows that marine mammals actually know the taste of their friends. In particular, they can recognize comrades by taking a sample of their urine.

“Our study presents the first case of perception of identity only through taste in animals,” reads a report by researchers from St Andrews University in the UK this was published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.

It has long been known that individual dolphins can identify themselves and others through their unique whistles, but new research shows that dolphins can track the arrival and passage of their friends through taste.

“The use of flavor is very useful in the open ocean, as the trickles of urine will linger for some time after the animal has left,” the study said.

Researchers have worked with dolphins in Search for dolphins facilities in Bermuda and Hawaii. They found that when exposed to urine samples from other dolphins they lived with, they would stay three to four times longer than with urine samples from unknown dolphins.

In another phase of the experiment, the researchers played either the matching whistle of the dolphin whose urine was being sampled or the whistle of a different, mismatched dolphin. It’s a bit like showing someone a picture of a friend while playing either a clip of their voice or a clip of someone else’s voice.

Again, the dolphins lingered longer with the urine sample when it matched the whistle of the dolphin he came from. All this suggests that dolphins taste the spade to see who is who in the same way that dogs sniff ass.

In case you are wondering if dolphins do not use their sense of smell and not their taste, it is a little known fact that dolphins have an underdeveloped sense of smell and studies show that their the sense of taste is limited to salinity. Maybe this helps them to distinguish a friend’s peeing from the surrounding ocean with salt water.

“Given the recognition skills revealed in our study, we believe that dolphins are likely to extract other information from the urine, such as reproductive status, or use pheromones to influence each other’s behavior,” the researchers said. that the findings suggest dolphins are able to identify and label objects that “can be used in mental operations such as planning, mental time travel or simulating social scenarios.”

In other words, the study adds to a large body of existing evidence showing that dolphins are remarkably intelligent creatures. However, the surprising revelation is that the best way to present yourself the next time you go swimming with dolphins may be to dive in the pool.

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