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Cetacea: Mind-Bending Theories About the Planet's “Other” Intelligent Life

Dolphinfresco_2 The year 2007 has been declared as Year of the Dolphin by the United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme. But what do we really know about these incredible creatures? In 1967, acoustics expert Wayne Batteau developed a technique based on ultrasounds to communicate with domesticated dolphins. At the origin of the study, the US Navy cryptically decided to classify the results as top secret.

Partly because their brains are roughly the same size as humans, and are similarly or superiorly complex (although differently evolved in structure), some marine biologists have speculated that dolphins, and other Cetaceans, are at least as intelligent as humans, and could have several unknown communicative abilities, that surpass human understanding.

Critics say that if dolphins were as smart as us there’d be more evidence of it. But what type of evidence would suffice? The fact that Cetaceans are suffering from (rather than creating) the kind of environmental suicide that humans indulge in, offers little proof of inferiority.

It is known that the prehistoric predecessors of Cetaceans were land animals who returned to the sea where there was relatively little fear of large predators and an abundant food supply. Dolphins seem to have rich communicative powers among themselves and are very playful. It is also known that dolphins can use tools and teach their children how to use tools. Dolphins are one of the few animals other than humans known to mate for pleasure rather than strictly for reproduction. They form strong bonds with each other, which leads them to stay with their injured and sick. Dolphins also display protective behavior towards humans, by keeping them safe from sharks, for example.

Historically, humans have long reported an affinity with dolphins, including joint cooperative fisheries in ancient Rome and other interactions. A modern human-dolphin fishery still takes place in Laguna, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

However, humans are known to benefit from dolphins in more intangible ways, as well. One example of a little understood benefit comes from an ongoing study conducted at The AquaThought Foundation, a privately funded research organization dedicated to the exploration of human-dolphin interaction. Their research shows several significant trends that have emerged in the analysis of samples collected before and after human/dolphin interactions.

According to their research, the human subject's dominate brain frequency drops significantly after dolphin interaction. Also observable is a period of hemispheric synchronization (the brainwaves emitted from both the left and right hemispheres of the brain are in phase and of similar frequency). Also, in many instances the background EEG became more evenly distributed within the spectrum. It is believed that this phenomenon may have some sort of therapeutic effect on an individual’s emotional, or physical health.

Other institutes that study dolphins, and other Cetaceans, have reported a myriad of differing perspectives and beliefs, which range from heart-warming to downright bizarre.

The Hawaii based Sirius Institute, known for sending live humpback whalesongs into deep space, says their primary goals is for the reestablishment of interspecies communications with the biggest, most complex brains on the planet.

One of their projects is an interspecies birth cohort, a group of children who would be birthed with dolphins and raised somewhat together in order to study the development of communications between the close-knit groups.

These open-minded Cetacea advocates point out that like humans, the Cetaceans transmit information culturally across generations, have the largest brains, and are the longest lived of all species. They would like humans to officially recognize the order Cetacea as a “people”. They believe that step is necessary for their preservations, as was historically necessary to stop genocide of humans. One example is the Australian aboriginal people, who were legally classed as “game animals” until 1967 when they won their “rights as human beings” in a court action.

While Cetaceans aren’t likely to take mankind to court, it has been suggested that they are willing to communicate with us—possibly in a form that WE are too stupid to cognitively interpret.

Is it possible that someday man or dolphin will have figured out a way to effectively communicate? While the concept seems strange, and fantastic—it’s worth remembering that it wasn’t that long ago when no one thought space travel was possible. At the present, enormous amounts of money, focus and energy is poured into our search for intelligent . Maybe we should be simultaneously supporting efforts to communicate with intelligent life on our own planet.

After all, it might be good practice for the future. If we someday do make contact with intelligent alien life, how would we communicate? Surely extra-terrestrials will have evolved with a much different intellectual/physical capabilities than us. Even if a particular alien life form is as intelligent or even possesses far superior cognitive abilities—that doesn’t mean we’ll have compatible biological systems for true communication. How will we overcome those physical and intellectual communication barriers? Learning to more effectively communicate and understand differently evolved life forms on our planet may provide important insights into possible future interactions with life beyond planet Earth.

http://www.aquathought.com/
http://www.planetpuna.com/siriusa/NewDolphinization.htm
http://ninemsn.australiatests.com/mag/dolphin-1.asp?v=42

Comments

Issue forth an energy of love and harmony for all life especially to your human family .. your whale and dolphin species for they are human in spirit also ... as a wave of slaughter and then beaching is about to begin as they cry out to humanity to look at itself ... for aeons of time your whales and dolphins have been guardians ... holding the planetary energy grid whilst they await for you to come online ... know you that whales are the oversouls of dolphins .. and dolphins as a whole are the earth's soul (black box recorder) holding all of earth's memory ... when your whale species become extinct ... so too will your dolphins ... your earth and yourselves ...

this is a message from a future now ...
Blue from Auraphim (Oraphim)
- The Centre of Light in Arcturus "

May be as intelligent....that is the key. We (humans) alter our environment by use of tools and weapons. In a water world the marine mammals are at a distinct dis-advantage. We are the lords of creation on this planet until we destroy ourselves and evolution can again work its magic and another species arise to take our place...again and again and again.

If it's the year of the dolphin as per the UN, why is the UN allowing the Japanese to slaughter dolphins?

Disappointing; there is almost no real science in this article.

Clark Eagling, this article mentioned several fascinating studies and areas of research. I don't think it was meant to be full of charts and graphs, or whatever you personally meant by "real science", but rather it is a very interesting and reflective piece. The fact is that cetaceans are incredible life forms that we are very likely underestimating.

I loved it. Thanks for the great article!

"We alter our environment by use of tools and weapons...We are the lords of creation on this planet until we destroy ourselves..."

While they play in the water all day long, singing, as they've done for millions of years.

Who's to say which is the more intelligent species? I suppose the dolphin historians of a million years hence will compose songs of clicks and squeaks about the brief, bright light that was the age of the humans, may they rest in peace...

What a pile of steaming drivel! Simple logic morons, if they're more intelligent than we are then why are we left to figure out how to communicate with them? IDIOTS!

This is intresting but I'd like to bring up a point... when exercising brain activity goes down, and while in water, to keep afloat you must perform an action every 10 minutes or you'll sink...

Just saying...

title mistake: the quotes on "other" should not be on other, it should be on "intelligent".

I am a dolphin and I just want to say that you humans are a bunch of puny morons. Who do you think is responsible for global warming??? hahaha....it's only a matter of time before the whole planet is tropical and covered in water. Then we will take over. muahahahhahahah.

Whales may be already trying to communicate with us, just we humans are too inferior to decipher what they are saying. Sure, there is the chance that they aren't as great and Utopian as this article suggests, but most evidence is contrary to that. The best you can do is learn, understand, and respect. Who knows? Maybe a few score later, you'll be able to purchase a Rosetta Stone Dolphin Pack, (master it), then go chat with your new friends down at the beach. Nothing wrong with a bit of imaginative & hopeful thinking. Deep down, we are all related to the very first life form.

I'm always saddened when people think that other animals on this planet aren't as sentient as we are. A lot of mammals experience a similar range of emotions as we do, and have a similar range for potential happiness and sadness. They make strong social ties, just like we do, and experience grief when they lose a loved one, just like we do. This has been documented and proven time and time again. It seems rediculous to me that, as intelligent as we pride ourselves for being, we are still debating and questioning how many rights we should "allow" the other animals we share this planet with to have.

What does it mean that we are too dumb to understand them
? Just because we have different anatomy it doesn't mean that we are inferior...we teached some of the great apes of sign language, we are very distantly related to African gray parrots, but we can teach them our language and exchange simple words...is that dumb? Of course cetacean language may be hard for us to understand not only because of our auditory abilities, but in the way they communicate, they lack vocal chords which is the reason why they cannot speak our language ... this is why we try to create special devises to allow us interspecies communication, sounds smart to me...as for them trying to talk to us, why I have never heard a single "hello" from Seaworld cetaceans? Well, it is obvious why...we are primates and they are cetaceans, who are you pseudoscientists to cal us dumb just because it is hard for us to understand them?

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