Scientists have been discovering plenty of new planets, and eventually, perhaps one will contain life—but we’d have no way to talk to the aliens. Until then, we can practice on creatures here on Earth: dolphins, who are capable of some surprisingly sophisticated thinking. We’ve tried to chat with them in our own fashion, but what about asking them to do the talking?
One biologist has been working on a simple language, the first to allow “two-way communication” between humans and wild animals, Wired reports. Divers showed dolphins how to press on a keyboard to get items they wanted, and the dolphins showed interest, even bringing friends along. Communication worked best when humans first established a rapport with the dolphins, imitating them and making eye contact as humans do with each other. Perhaps, Wired notes, this inter-species “good manners” is universal—even beyond our planet.