Dolphins ain't all that either.

Aug 23 2013 Published by under Animals in Research, Psychology, Science Politics

There's a great review of a new book (Are Dolphins Really Smart?,  by Justin Gregg) penned by Jessa Gamble at LWON. Go read because it is incredibly important to realize:

A disproportionate amount of dolphin research time has been devoted to teasing out any potential for language – the science-fictional myth of dolphinese – from their vocalizations. If dolphins had language, we would almost certainly have found it by now. When their vocalizations turned out to be rote and inflexible, “I’m scared!” “I’m mating!” “I see food!” pretty much covers it, the research turned to echolocation clicks. Perhaps dolphins were sending each other 3D holographic messages encoded in their clicks. Nope.

and

[waccaloon terrorist AR org]’s lawsuit against SeaWorld challenges dolphin captivity under anti-slavery legislation, citing exceptional intelligence as evidence of their “non-human personhood.” When advocacy for the ethical treatment of animals is based on exaggerated claims of their intelligence, it fails to recognize the inherent worth of animals regardless of their similarity to humans. And in dolphins, that similarity is easily refuted. It’s time relieve the dolphins of all our human baggage and realize that evolution has produced all kinds of intelligence, and it’s all around us.

Gamble notes that the book by Gregg systematically dismantles many popular myths about dolphins and, of course, points out that dolphins are total dicks

Adult male dolphins routinely kill porpoises, not for food — or even out of competition for food – but because the porpoise is similar in size to a dolphin calf. The killings serve as practice for their regular infanticidal behaviour, a sure way to ready mothers for mating.

Sounds like a good read.

 

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Additional:

Repost: Insightful Animal Behavior: A "Sufficiently Advanced Technology"

Jane Goodall, Plagiarist

 

8 responses so far

  • physioprof says:

    Here's a fact of evolution: the smarter animals get, the more they act like fucken selfish brutal dickes.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Did you read about the Aquarium of the Americas dolphins which were dumped in the Gulf by Hurricane Katrina? They stayed together and were eventually rescued and returned to a suitable home.

  • The Other Dave says:

    "When their vocalizations turned out to be rote and inflexible, “I’m scared!” “I’m mating!” “I see food!” pretty much covers it"

    This is why I can't stand reality TV. Same stuff.

    I think it would also be OK to accidentally net and drown the cast of Jersey Shore.

  • Alex says:

    This is putting a damper on my plans to write a sci-fi story about a future where dolphin speech is decoded and dolphins are hired as contractors by companies that do deep sea drilling, undersea telecom cable maintenance, etc.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    There is a sci-fi short story where the aliens come to earth. They are cordial and friendly to humans, but they are here to visit the dolphins. Dolphins are already doing work for the navy somewhat like you mentioned.

  • Dolphin anthropologists would think we suck, too.

  • drugmonkey says:

    For "sport" fishing?

  • fusilier says:

    @Jim Thomerson

    "Dolphin's Way," by Gordie Dickson. Mid 1960s, IINM

    fusilier, SMOF, jg. (ret.)
    James 2:24

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