The world’s first cellular phone was invented in an underwater cave and used to transmit text messages between two whales, according to a report published in National Geographic.
The whale was found in the Antarctic, in a cave at a depth of nearly 2,000 meters (6,000 feet), and the device, which measures a little over four feet (1.6 meters) long and 1,500 kilograms (3,600 pounds) in weight, has been described as a “must-have” for any whale who’s ever wanted to use one.
“The whale’s mouthpiece has a clear view of the surrounding water, making it easy to locate the device,” National Geographic’s Andrew Weidman wrote.
“It can also be used to talk to the other whales in the vicinity, but is limited to a few hours per day, and is not always available.”
The phone’s makers, the Whale Team, are trying to get the phone to other whale species by developing a phone for the species that can be remotely operated by the whale.
It’s not clear what technology will be used for the project.
Weidman described the device as a rare opportunity for scientists to get closer to the creatures that may not otherwise be able to communicate with each other.
“While whales may have to communicate via echolocation, which is not widely used among researchers because of its limited range, it’s not impossible for the whale to use a cellphone,” Weidson wrote.
The phone can be operated by a human and it uses infrared light to detect sounds, which can be used by the team to send a signal to other whales nearby.
The technology may also be useful to researchers trying to locate other whales, such as the humpback whale, which has been found in remote areas around the world.
“Whale voice communication is a valuable tool for whale conservation,” Weidoff wrote.
“When whales are communicating, they often use high-frequency clicks or clicks that sound like the click of a hammer, as well as repetitive clicks and other sounds that may sound like their own calls.”
The whalephone was developed by a group of researchers from the Whales of the Southern Ocean (WSO) and the Marine Mammal Foundation.
The group is working to find and release the whale, and they hope the device will be a way for scientists around the globe to connect to the animals.