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Have you ever noticed that people speak differently to babies and toddlers? Caregivers, particularly mothers, change their speech when talking to young children. How? Their speech includes higher pitches. They also use a wider pitch range and shorter sentences. Scientists call these changes in speech patterns child-directed communication, but you can think of it as baby talk. We wanted to find out if bottlenose dolphins also use child-directed communication. We analyzed the sounds made by female dolphins and found that they used higher frequency whistles when they were with their calves. We also found that the frequency range of their whistles increased. Like humans, bottlenose dolphins speak differently to youngsters than to adults.

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