Why A Bottlenose Dolphin's Indirect Aim is Really Right on Target

Bottlenose dolphins improve echolocation precision by aiming their sonar beam to graze the target.
Ben P. Stein, Contributor

(Inside Science TV) -- Bottlenose dolphins are masters of echolocation but according to what researchers know about sonar, they shouldn't be. Researchers at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana found that bottlenose dolphins direct their sonar to graze their target instead of directly hitting it. At the recent Acoustical Society of America meeting held in Jacksonville, Florida, the researchers presented their findings which revealed that their slightly off the mark strategy is actually mathematically optimal which increases the dolphin's precision in locating its target.  

Author Bio & Story Archive

Ben P. Stein is a former director of Inside Science and currently the managing editor in the public affairs office at National Institute of Standards and Technology.