Science: Porpoise Prattle

Ever since they first learned how to eavesdrop, scientists have realized that porpoises are gabby creatures. They whistle, they beep, they squeak—they always seem to have something to say. But no one could be sure whether the whales' small cousins actually talk to each other, or whether they merely use their prattle for underwater navigation—a sort of mammalian sonar. Engineers from the Lockheed Aircraft Corp. have finally decided that they do both.

The Lockheed scientists tuned in on porpoises for a practical purpose: they wanted to study natural noises that might be of importance...

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