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Why Dolphins Are Deep Thinkers

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posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 05:07 AM
*This article was taken from here: hence i have placed it within ATS Science section because of this*

At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, Kelly the dolphin has built up quite a reputation. All the dolphins at the institute are trained to hold onto any litter that falls into their pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade the litter for fish. In this way, the dolphins help to keep their pools clean.

Kelly has taken this task one step further. When people drop paper into the water she hides it under a rock at the bottom of the pool. The next time a trainer passes, she goes down to the rock and tears off a piece of paper to give to the trainer. After a fish reward, she goes back down, tears off another piece of paper, gets another fish, and so on. This behaviour is interesting because it shows that Kelly has a sense of the future and delays gratification. She has realised that a big piece of paper gets the same reward as a small piece and so delivers only small pieces to keep the extra food coming. She has, in effect, trained the humans.

Her cunning has not stopped there. One day, when a gull flew into her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish. This seemed to give Kelly a new idea. The next time she was fed, instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish. After mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the dolphins.

I love stories like this. It humbles me, and yet, at the same time saddens me.

Yes we (humans) are special, but not THAT special.

"Intelligence" is a term with many definitions and interpretations. It's difficult enough to measure in humans let alone other animals. Large brains are traditionally associated with greater intelligence, and the brain of the adult bottlenose dolphin is about 25% heavier than the average adult human brain. Generally though, larger mammals tend to have larger brains, and so a more accurate estimate of brain power comes from the ratio of brain size to body size - the "encephalisation quotient" (EQ). While river dolphins have an EQ of 1.5, some dolphins have EQs that are more than double those of our closest relatives: gorillas have 1.76, chimpanzees 2.48, bottlenose dolphins 5.6. The bottlenose's EQ is surpassed only by a human's, which measures 7.4 (Australopithecines - hominids that lived around 4m years ago - fall within the dolphin range: 3.25-4.72). But we don't know enough about the workings of the brain to be sure of what these anatomical measurements truly represent. Today, most scientists share the view that it is behaviour, not structure, that must be the measure of intelligence within a species.

To be honest, i reckon that Kelly the dolphin is more intelligent than a lot of people i know


posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 05:13 AM
If anything, it proves that "Kelly" is sapient enough to understand at the least the barter system and at best, understands the value of currency. No small feat for a water borne Mammal. I'm surprised that whomever wrote that article didn't see the obvious outcome of such behavior. It's been pretty well known for quite a while that Humanity is not the "only" sapient species here on good old Mother Earth.

Edit: I have a 19 year old Step-son who could learn a lot from Kelly.

[edit on 9-11-2009 by Zenagain]

posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 05:26 AM
you're awesome for posting this.
i love dolphins and whales.
thanks. ess and eff.

have you read books by Dr. Lily? if not, i suggest you do so.. good stuff.


posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 06:41 AM
Thank you for posting this it was a very interesting read. While it is not news that dolphins are very intelligent creatures what this article reveals is that, at the very least, kelley, is a creature with ambition. A dolphin that has the obvious desire to build wealth. I have often heard that humans are the only creatures that exhibit certain behaviors like greed. Yet, it seems humans are not alone in this desire for more, and desire to maximize a return for our efforts. That this dolphin is willing to teach what she knows is also very cool and it does not sadden me at all but excites me to think that humanity is not at all the only creature that develops industry. Thank you again for a terrific post.

As a post script I might add that this dolphins enterprising behavior is not the only sign that we humans are not alone in our proclivity towards greed. There was a study done with monkeys that showed that these monkeys were highly co-operative with each other in terms of banana sharing when there was a limited amount of bananas to go around but when an abundance of bananas were introduced to this group of monkeys the co-operation dissipated and greed took over causing rivalries between the monkeys.

The story of Kelley the dolphin is cooler though.

posted on Nov, 9 2009 @ 10:05 AM
reply to post by prevenge

Hey, no problem

I haven't read those books, i shall look them up and add them to the ever growing list


posted on Feb, 3 2010 @ 02:10 PM

well beat that. If they are so smart then why do they taste so good?

posted on Feb, 3 2010 @ 03:40 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

Thank you for a great post.
Would you like to see a mind-boggling vid of an elephant painting?

posted on Feb, 3 2010 @ 04:18 PM
Great thread and thank you for making it.

It is so messed up to even consider that humans are teaching dolphins how to use currency/barter systems, as well as teaching them to kill birds for food.

Deep stuff.

Dolphin facts are always awesome.

posted on Feb, 3 2010 @ 04:46 PM
reply to post by pumpkinorange

Wow...great clip.

Anyone who skips past this post in this thread is missing out on another amazing show of higher intelligence in the animal kingdom.

Good stuff!

A star for the coolest elephant on ATS.

posted on Feb, 3 2010 @ 05:03 PM
That's strange because there's a new study on bonobos

showing they share and arguing it's due to their more food abundant habitat. But maybe that study is wrong -- maybe the bonobos share much more due to neurological differences with chimps -- as the neotony implies.

reply to post by Jean Paul Zodeaux

posted on Mar, 31 2010 @ 05:05 AM
Our intelligence often leaves me scratching my head, Live thx for posting this, it really is lovely

And really interesting to see Kelly start new behaviour not Dolphin behaviour, is she taking on our traits now? Shows her adaptability, learning hoarding and barter which are human conditions... Don't see us taking on their traits

posted on Mar, 31 2010 @ 05:16 AM
reply to post by zaiger

not entirely the most intelligent thing to contribute....
....given this information, i'd bet you taste better!

posted on Aug, 24 2015 @ 05:48 AM
Couldn't fit that into the title, but damn... that's one smart dolphin.

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