logo

Are Dolphins Really Smart?

TAGS:     

THEME:   NATURE

By SisiBroad | September 28, 2013 8:38 am

For more than 50 years, the dolphin has been viewed as an especially intelligent creature, grouped together with human beings and great apes. But now a dispute on the subject has erupted among scientists, and the smart aleck of the seas may end up being just an average mammal.

Lilly gushed, dolphins were "more intelligent than any man or woman."

Lilly gushed, dolphins were “more intelligent than any man or woman.”

“We put them on a pedestal for no reason and projected a lot of our desires and wishes on them,” says neuroethologist Paul Manger of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. According to the professor, the claims that dolphins have a particularly complex brain, use a sophisticated language, are self-aware and can use tools are nonsense.

Physician and neuroscientist Dr. John Lilly

Physician and neuroscientist Dr. John Lilly

When goldfish are placed in a bowl, he explains, they at least try to escape by boldly jumping out, whereas dolphins that have been captured in nets won’t even think of jumping to freedom. Most dolphin researchers are offended by such remarks. “You can use similar arguments to prove that people aren’t intelligent,” says Karsten Brensing, a marine biologist with the organization Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

Notion of the intelligence of dolphin based on effort physician and neuroscientist John Lilly who played the crucial role in the elevation of dolphins from the status of fish to a human-like faculty of speech and attempted to establish contact with the marine mammals. His desire to communicate was so great he administered LSD to himself and the dolphins in the hopes of stimulating conversation.  Lilly gushed, dolphins were “more intelligent than any man or woman.” He even attributed them philosophy, ethics and an “ancient vocal history.”

Lilly’s legacy shapes our image of dolphins to this day.

A few arguments against dolphins’ outstanding brain.  Researchers were able to teach bottle-nosed dolphins 40 symbols, but African grey parrots and California sea lions can also learn this type of symbol-based language.

It is known that every dolphin can identify itself with its own “signature whistle,” but so does many other animals. It’s probably not the case that dolphins have their own language, which is as complex as human language,” says the expert in animal communication.

“We have to stop describing them as ‘special’,” says Gregg, a zoologist with the US-based Dolphin Communication Project.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the marine mammals’ intellectual abilities are by no means unique in the animal kingdom. “Many other species-from sharks to earwigs to rats-lead equally wondrous and worthy lives,” he writes.

top_banner PRINT THIS

Comments are closed.

  • PLACE YOUR LISTINGS
  • RED LIGHT CAMERAS

  • MTA UPDATES

  • rek1
  • rek2
  • OUR WRITERS

    SokSok
    Jan OvlandJan Ovland
    Ann TyllerAnn Tyller
    SisiBroadSisiBroad
    Dan BartDan Bart
    Serge KSerge K
  • RSS Top News

    • Right-wing firebrand vows to hold rally at UC Berkeley - ABC News September 24, 2017
      Washington PostRight-wing firebrand vows to hold rally at UC BerkeleyABC NewsIn this Sept. 21, 2017 photo, a group has put up flyers and a booth on Sproul Plaza calling for protesters to "Shut Down Milo Yiannopoulos," at the University of California, Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif. Right-wing showman Milo Yiannopoulos is ...The Latest: Police Prep […]
    • Trump Embroiled In 2 Controversies About Professional Sports, Race And Culture - NPR September 24, 2017
      NPRTrump Embroiled In 2 Controversies About Professional Sports, Race And CultureNPRIn the span of less than 24 hours, President Trump catapulted himself into the center of two racially-charged controversies involving professional sports, reigniting criticism that he is divisive and insensitive — a month after Trump struggled with ...NFL owners, CEOs respond to Trump commentsNFL.comNFL owners, […]
    • $1B OK'd for Puerto Rico hurricane aid, but governor says he'll seek more - Fox News September 24, 2017
      Fox News$1B OK'd for Puerto Rico hurricane aid, but governor says he'll seek moreFox NewsNational Guard personnel evacuate Toa Ville resident Luis Alberto Martinez after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2017. (Associated Press). Federal aid began pouring into Puerto Rico on Saturday, welcomed by local ...Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico […]
    • North Korean Minister Says Trump the One on Suicide Mission - Bloomberg September 24, 2017
      BloombergNorth Korean Minister Says Trump the One on Suicide MissionBloombergNorth Korea's foreign minister unleashed a torrent of criticism at the United Nations General Assembly in response to President Donald Trump's speech at the same venue, saying Pyongyang is ready for a preemptive nuclear attack if needed. Ri Yong Ho.Trump: North Korean leaders 'won't be around […]
    • 2 new quakes shake southern Mexico, already coping with disasters - CNN September 24, 2017
      CNN2 new quakes shake southern Mexico, already coping with disastersCNN(CNN) Two more earthquakes shook southern Mexico on Saturday, further rattling a country still coming to grips with the devastation from stronger temblors earlier this month. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake Saturday morning was centered in Oaxaca state near ...New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery MexicoWashington PostMexico City […]
  • RSS NYC Latest News


  •