It’s no news that Dolphins are intelligent creatures. However, little did we know that they have an eye for classics too. Proving so is a study that suggests that the wondrous mammals are indeed fond of music and love listening to Beethoven and Bach. Yes, that’s right!
According to the analysis by researchers from the University of Padua in Italy, Dolphins who listened to Bach, Grieg, Saint-Saens, Debussy, and Beethoven displayed more sociable behavior. They showed more interest in each other, gave more gentle touches, and swam in synchrony for longer.
This, according to the study, was because music activated the Dolphins’ brains to produce endogenous opioids – chemicals such as endorphins that influence mood. Commenting on it, lead researcher Dr. Cecile Guerineau in a statement said, ‘We know that, in a wide range of animals, endorphins are related to social bonding. Activation of opioid receptors is correlated with a feeling of euphoria.’
She further added, ‘Dolphins may also be able to perceive rhythm because they are a vocal-learning species. It may be that, similar to how dancing at a party makes us feel good and helps people to bond, when dolphins synchronize to a beat, they also feel good and connect with their fellow swimmers.’
For conducting the research, Dr. Guerineau’s team studied eight bottlenose dolphins housed in a dolphinarium in Riccione, Italy. Five of the mammals were females and three males – all aged between five to 49 years old.
They were exposed to 20 minutes of classical music per day every few days, for a total of seven sessions with the help of an underwater speaker. At other times, the dolphins were made to see/hear sounds of rainfall for 20 minutes; a 20-minute video of natural environments on TV monitors, and more.
At the end, it was concluded that playing classical music to dolphins could help them relieve stress and adjust better to new surroundings. The findings were also published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Well, next time you meet a dolphin, maybe sing to them?