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I know some scientists and trainers used hand signals to communicate with dolphins. The problem is: the dolphins have no hand to express themselves. With chimpanzees, we see how creative they are, not only in creating new words, but also in teaching their offspring without being told to do so (not sure if it was Jane Goodall who told that story in Through a Window).

So, what additional techniques could be used with cetaceans to really communicate with them?

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  • $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it is vague and open-ended (encouraging opinions rather than fact-based answers). It also doesn't demonstrate the expected prior research. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    May 5 at 20:01

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In terms of training dolphins, it doesn't matter that they can't replicate a hand signal - just that they can learn to associate that visual stimuli with a behaviour.

For communicating with dolphins, one of the most common modalities is sound, either through playbacks of their own/conspecific sounds, or through synthetic sounds that aren't thought to be in their repertoire. Here is a review from Denise Herzing who has done a lot of this work on a wild dolphin population, with some reference to bird and primate work: https://www.animalbehaviorandcognition.org/uploads/journals/13/04.Nov2016-Herzing_HH(6)-final.pdf

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  • $\begingroup$ That's a very interesting paper. Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Rodrigo
    May 3 at 15:33

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