Wednesday, January 06, 2010

No more slaughter, dolphins are humans!

Dolphins' advocates will rejoice with this scientific
discovery, a relief against "The Cove"* type of
slaughter and to give a better approach towards
dolphins, whales (and seals) and the importance of
saving endangered cetaceans and our precious oceans.

This information comes on our radar screen with the
scientific community who finally joins what ordinary
people and ocean lovers already noticed as a simple
observation of this mammal (not a fish!) for decades.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau studied this long ago (1977) in
"Le Chant des Dauphins" (A Sound of Dolphins).

Now, my question is: Are we smart enough to understand


"Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most
intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists
suggesting they are so bright that they should be
treated as “non-human persons”. Studies into dolphin
behaviour have highlighted how similar their
communications are to those of humans and that they
are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed
up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains
have many key features associated with high
intelligence. The researchers argue that their work
shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such
intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them
for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000
whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each

[Scientists Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory
University in Atlanta and Diana Reiss, professor of
psychology at Hunter College, City University of New
York established] said "that the cerebral cortex and
neocortex of bottlenose dolphins were so large that
“the anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity
place it second only to the human brain”. They also
found that the brain cortex of dolphins such as the
bottlenose had the same convoluted folds that are
strongly linked with human intelligence. Such folds
increase the volume of the cortex and the ability of
brain cells to interconnect with each other. “Despite
evolving along a different neuroanatomical trajectory
to humans, cetacean brains have several features that
are correlated with complex intelligence.” Marino and
Reiss will present their findings at a conference in San
Diego, California, next month, concluding that the new
evidence about dolphin intelligence makes it morally
repugnant to mistreat them."**

2 comments were made following this article in the

1- "We consider ourselves inherently better because we
demonstrate an “advanced” capacity to articulate our
ideas, thoughts and emotions through written and oral
language." I wonder what a dolphin would comment?
Might be a refreshing change from the angry emotional
toxic comments people leave all over the web. The
capacity of the human to spew hate and engage in
cruelty towards other beings astounds me. Is that
seen in other animals or is that strictly a human
ability? (Japanese name was provided)

2- Lori Marino wrote: "As one of the scientists
mentioned in this article I would like to clarify one
of the statements made. The work I've done on dolphin
brains shows that, when relative brain size is taken
into account, some dolphin species are second only to
modern humans and have larger brains than chimpanzees.

However, I do not think we can "declare" that dolphins
are the second smartest animals on the planet on the
basis of just this information. I do not want to make
categorical or hierarchical statements about matters
that are clearly too complex to warrant a simple
interpretation. The point of our upcoming session and
arguments is this. Given what we now know about
dolphin brains and intelligence we need to rethink our
"accepted" cultural standards of treatment - from
slaughter to capture to confinement in amusement
parks. The scientific evidence is clear that the
suffering imposed by these activities on dolphins is
on a par with what humans would suffer under the same
circumstances. That is the message of the article."

20 minutes a French media summarized a bit emotionally
with this : "Le dauphin est une personne. De
nouvelles études relancent le débat sur l’intelligence
de l’animal. Des droits pour les dauphins. C’est ce
que vont réclamer des scientifiques américains lors
d’une conférence qui se tiendra en février à San
Diego, en Californie. Leur argument? Des études
qu’ils ont réalisées prouvent une nouvelle fois
l’exceptionnelle intelligence du mammifère. Ils
estiment même qu’il pourrait être le deuxième être le
plus évolué de la planète, juste après... l’homme."

I'm not a specialist but I found this surfing on the

" There is no parallel between the evolutionary level
of the somatic structure and the brain. Species with
large number of conservative traits may have a very
progressive brain, while species with many derived
features may be at a low level with respect to brain
evolution". By Stephan, Baron and Frahm, in their
1991 book Insectovora (the first volume of the series
Comparative Brain Research in Mammals).
Smart enough to be a military dolphin? On this, here
is a description of military uses of dolphins in US
and Russia.

Articles references:

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