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Singing Dolphins Do Batman 168

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bam-pow-whack dept.
The results of two scientific studies have shown that dolphins are capable of recognizing rhythms and pitch and are able to reproduce them. In order to best demonstrate this ability the scientists chose the epic, Batman theme song and were able to teach a shortened version to the dolphins who reproduced it in response to certain stimuli.
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Singing Dolphins Do Batman

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  • meh (Score:4, Funny)

    by B11 (894359) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:36AM (#16835152)
    let me know when they can do "free bird."
  • Incorrect headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by XorNand (517466) * on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:37AM (#16835162)
    Ugh... the blurb is woefully incorrect. The dolphins didn't sing, and they certaintly didn't sing the Batman themesong. They were trained to respond to the rhythm of one long beat, followed by one short beat. It's quite a stretch to equate this to the old "Batmaaaannn!" catchphrase, much less the song. Perhaps the dolphins are instead brushing up on Morse code in preparation for a DX contest?
  • by Heir Of The Mess (939658) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:40AM (#16835176) Homepage

    Birds do this too, and elephants, and probable many other animals that you might want to kill time by studying scientifically.

    There's some bloody bird outside my bedroom window that has a natural ability to memorize the latest ringtone on my mobile phone whenever I change it. 6am in the morning I jump out of bed thinking my phone is ringing (I'm waiting on some important calls)

    Reminds me of this poem

    I woke early one morning,
    The earth lay cool and still
    When suddenly a tiny bird
    Perch on my window sill,
    He sang a song so lovely
    So carefree and so gay,
    That slowly all my troubles
    Began to slip away.
    He sang of far off places
    Of laughter and of fun,
    It seemed his very trilling,
    brought up the morning sun.
    I stirred beneath the covers
    Crept slowly out of bed,
    And gently lowered the window
    And crushed his little head.

    I am not a morning person

    • by Scarblac (122480)
      I love it!
    • I know this is completely offtopic from the article, but I'm always amazed to see how many different variations of that bird open exist. This is the one I grew up with, short and sweet. A little yellow bird with a little yellow bill sat upon my windowsill. I fed it crumbs and bits of bread and then I crushed its little head.
      • by bcmm (768152)
        I heard a variant with several verses, each containing a different rhyming pair of a bait and a manner or death.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ford Prefect (8777)
      There's some bloody bird outside my bedroom window that has a natural ability to memorize the latest ringtone on my mobile phone whenever I change it.

      Make it do the Crazy Frog!

      (For those who don't know what I'm talking about, you're lucky. The horror, the horror...)
    • by ettlz (639203)

      I used to have a blackbird that would routinely pirch on my television aerial, about five metres from my window. Right show-off. He didn't stop with ring-tones and car-alarms, oh no, he'd nicked a ruddy fax machine and learnt that off by heart as well. I'm sure I he stood up there negotiating PPP connections. With apologies to the Wurzels:

      Where be it Blackbird to?
      I know where he be,
      He be up yon aerial,
      And I be after he!
      Now I sees he, And he sees I,
      Bugger'd if I don't get 'en
      Wit a thousand volts, I'l

    • by nizo (81281) *
      Teach it to say, "here kittykittykittykitty" and the problem will eventually solve itself.


      A friend of mine had a pair of mockingbirds that would sit outside his window and do a nice imitation of a car alarm bright and early in the morning. They were clever little buggers.

    • by fdiskne1 (219834)
      I have a few owls that frequent my back yard. While they may not be mimicking songs, they each have their own tone and rhythm to their hoots such that I can recognize three different owls out there. I've heard them all at once. Just what I needed, an owl concert to keep me up all night.

      Back when I had a girlfriend living with me, she had a parakeet. She taught this parakeet the Andy Griffith theme song and the Addams Family theme song. They were pretty accurate renditions, too.

      Okay, the article says this is
  • So... where's the MP3?
  • So that makes these furry fish, what, about 75% as intelligent as my dog? Also, my dog eats his own poop. What's the current delphinic position on autoscatavoria?
    • by mjm1231 (751545)
      Squirrels can remember 10,000 places they've hidden nuts (they can find them again by memory, not by smell or some other means). If a person can remember 100, does that make them 10% as smart as a squirrel? The point is that there is no such thing as generic intelligence. Intelligence is as diverse among different species as other traits. A lobster claw is much better at opening a clam shell than a bare human hand, but it's pretty useless at screwing the toothpaste cap back on.

      Or, to add a bad car analogy

  • by Placebo Messiah (895157) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:45AM (#16835228)
    What a man in a batsuit and a sea creature do together is their business and they can tape it and post it on the internet if they want to
    • by saboola (655522)
      Was the whole video done in night vision? Could get the dolphin a reality show and a Hardee's commercial. Worked for Paris Hilton.
  • So, the dolphins can "sing" the Batman theme... I wonder how long it will take before they start "singing" "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish"
    • Surely the theme tune from Flipper would have been more appropriate?
    • by toleraen (831634)
      It better be a looooonnngggg time before they start singing that! I have no desire to stick a paper bag over my head quite yet...
    • by Kjella (173770)
      So, the dolphins can "sing" the Batman theme... I wonder how long it will take before they start "singing" "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish"

      Right after they see the intro to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", I presume.
  • birdsongs (Score:3, Funny)

    by Goldsmith (561202) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @04:47AM (#16835236)
    Somewhere, an ornithologist read that article and died inside...
    • by Boronx (228853)
      What's really sad is that she'd hoped to be outside when her time came.
    • by Tatarize (682683)
      "I think music is a human construct," he says. "I doubt that it has pertinence to animals..."

      Dude, why does everybody on Slashdot think they know so much more than some dolt they interview for an article. I mean, I have almost never seen an article posted on /. that didn't get an errata. So they guy is completely retarded and a bigoted speciesist. Sure, birds make vocalizations in repeating patterns to attract mates. Sure, whales have low harmonic sounds that seem to serve some purpose. Sure crickets churp
      • by Goldsmith (561202)
        Surely you're joking.

        It's just pretentious, rehashed science, that's all. I have no grand opinion on the nature of music.
    • by maeka (518272)
      [birdsongs] Somewhere, an ornithologist read that article and died inside..

      If drastic changes are made to the tempo or pitch of a bird song, would it still be recognized by the bird?
      That is the point of the study. The dolphins recognized the rhythm, regardless of pitch or tempo.
  • Am I the only one who thinks they should have taught them "So long and thanks for all the fish"?
  • It was pure luck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:18AM (#16835378)
    Thd scientists asked the dolphins about tunes and they thought the question was about tuna so they all signed up.
  • I-Tuna is just around the corner..
  • I'm just asking.
  • About dolphins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @05:45AM (#16835532)
    They are pretty damn smart.

    I've worked with them, and have good friends that have worked with them more than I have.

    A couple of 'cool' facts:

    When you meet someone for the first time, you shake their hand and look them in the eye, right?

    Dolpins 'beam' you with their 'sonar'. They tend to think that people with an implant (pacemaker), screws or pins (from surgery), etc. are 'cooler' because they are different from most humans they meet.

    They can tell if a woman is pregnant, often before she knows herself, and they understand what it means. One friend of mind works with some 'wild' dolphins in the Florida keys. Every once in awhile they'll get a new researcher (female) and a lot of the female dolphins will be very gentle near her, and rub her belly with their noses (i.e. being very affectionate). The 'old hands' from the research team will always tell the new lady that she's pregnant. New lady will always say 'no way'. The dolphins are invariably correct.

    'FYI'. :)
  • I, for one, welcome our new sea overlords. ;)
  • Nuh-nuha, Nuh-nuha, Nuh-nuha, Nuh-nuha, Leader!
  • Na na na na... fishing.. I mean Batman!
  • This story is from 2005
    • This story is from 2005

      Yes, that sounds about right for the length of time a story spends in Slashdot's story queue.
  • Stuff dolphins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bananaendian (928499) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:30AM (#16835726) Homepage Journal
    Repeat a few tunes from Batman? ha!
    The Lyrebird [wikipedia.org] of Australia is practically a living tape recorder [google.com] (<= google video)
  • Oh no, not the electrodes again!

    Dananananaanana ... BATMAN!
  • Not interested in this.

    However, if they were reporting dolphings jumping backwards through a hoop while whistling the Star-Spangled Banner, then I'd be concerned.

  • to get them to sing "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish" from the Hitchhikers movie?
  • I would have preferred another song [slashdot.org], better suited for dolphins.
  • Is it just me, or does the PI's name sound like a character in a computer game: "Heidi Harley".
  • actually, the dolphins were singing: "Nah-nah-nah-nah nah nah nah fishing. Fishing. Fishing..."
  • In order to best demonstrate this ability the scientists chose the epic, Batman theme song and were able to teach a shortened version to the dolphins who reproduced it in response to certain stimuli.

    I don't know why, but this conjures up an image of a dolphin, covered with electrodes, tied to a chair in a dingy room with bad lighting, kind of like Morpheus in the hands of Agent Smith:

    Scientist: "Come on. Sing, you rotten fish. Sing it. Na-na Na-na Na-na Na-na BATMAAAN!"
    Dolphin: "[weary dolphin sound]"
  • by BMonger (68213) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:39AM (#16837404)
    Whoever owns the rights to the Batman song should be filing suit any minute now... take the dolphins for all the tuna they have.
  • They are the 2nd smartest beings on the planet. Humans are the 3rd. I'm betting mice are the 1st... we only thing we are testing them, its the other way around.
  • The one time Batman's batteries went dead...
  • ...tuna dolphin?
  • From the TFA: Harley, who is associate professor of social sciences at the New College of Florida in Sarasota, says that both studies tested dolphins at Disney's Epcot Center in Florida.


    I guess since Batman is owned by Warner Bros. can we expect the WB v. Disney lawsuit any day now? Or perhaps since the "song" is from the TV series, Fox will sue Disney for using their Batman meme ("Batmaaaaan" -- not even the whole song).

  • ... the scientists chose the epic, Batman theme song ...
    What exactly is "epic" about the Batman theme song ? IIRC, it didn't have any words other than "Batman !"

    The Dangermouse [culttelly.co.uk] theme tune was more epic in the true sense of the word.

  • "A.K.A. I AM BATMAN!"

    (INT, WTF!!! lameness filter aborting the line above this one... sheesh....)

    (Captcha: numbed)

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