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Scientists Have Made an Image Showing What Dolphins’ Echolocation “Looks” Like

Daredevil is less than impressed.


In some ways, dolphins’ secondary underwater “vision,” echolocation, doesn’t quite measure up to human sight, but it does other things far better, and now scientists have an idea of just exactly what.

The Speak Dolphin research organization has created an image of what dolphins “see” when their echolocation clicking sounds bounce back to them for the first time, and the results are impressive:


OK, so it’s not quite a Daredevil-style world on fire—the data’s missing a few senses for that—but the flat image of the trainer near the dolphin in a tank doesn’t do the revelation much justice. Unlike human sight, which is limited to approximating depth using two slightly offset viewpoints, echolocation gets a much more 3D picture—so the researchers at Speak Dolphin 3D printed it, of course.

The organization’s founder, Jack Kassewitz, said,

We were thrilled by the first successful print of a cube by the brilliant team at 3D Systems. But seeing the 3D print of a human being left us all speechless. For the first time ever, we may be holding in our hands a glimpse into what cetaceans see with sound. Nearly every experiment is bringing us more images with more detail.

Awesome. How close are we to getting the dolphins to share their Daredevil powers with us? Or just an army of Daredevil dolphins? Wait, I think we have that one already.

(via NBC news)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.