By Maddalena Bearzi
Bearzi is the dolphin biologist and Stanford is the primatologist. The "parallels" among nice apes and dolphins that the authors communicate of include commonly within the use of what we name "intelligence" of their diversifications to existence. accordingly it is a comparability of dolphin intelligence with primate intelligence, and naturally implicitly with human intelligence.
The sections in the chapters are written first on one species after which at the different in order that dolphin social habit, for instance, should be in comparison with primate social habit (Chapter four) or that their navigation via their differing environments can equally be in comparison as in "Swimming with Dolphins, Swinging with Apes" (Chapter 3).
I used to be semi-surprised to profit that wild bottlenose dolphins even with out fingers have still been saw utilizing tools--or a t least one instrument, a sponge worn as "a nostril cap." the most hypothesis this is that the dolphins use the sponges "to guard themselves from quite a few damaging and poisonous organisms close to the ocean flooring and to prevent the abrasive sand, rocks, and damaged shells that clutter the deep waters..." (pp. 144-145).
Of path dolphins in sea exhibits were taught to take advantage of balls and different items as "tools for entertainment"--which brings me to this attention: is dolphin intelligence constrained via the truth that dolphins haven't any fingers with which to take advantage of instruments? The authors appear to imagine so, and at any price the sponge use is the single instance of instrument use within the wild that they record. Which brings up the query of ways a lot can we rather learn about dolphin habit and intelligence? gazing animals in zoos or as a part of a theatric convey is something; staring at animals within the wild is one other. Animals within the wild behave in ways in which could shock us, and our wisdom of the use and quantity of dolphin intelligence will be restricted simply because we're not capable of systemically stick with them within the wild.
The related is right for chimpanzees and different primates. within the February, 2010 factor of "National Geographic" there's an enticing article via Joshua Foer (with pictures by way of Ian Nichols) approximately an come across with chimps within the Congo's Nouabale-Ndoki nationwide Park. not like different areas in Africa the chimps encountered right here had it sounds as if by no means obvious people ahead of. Their behavior--full of interest and "approach/avoidance" screens together with nesting in a single day within the bushes at once above the camp of biologists Dave Morgan and Crickette Sanz--proved so much wonderful. The chimps spent a part of the evening "testing" the people by way of throwing down urine and feces onto the tents and howling! this can be a bit varied from different experiences that i've got read.
In "Beautiful Minds," the authors speculate on even if dolphins and apes have "a conception of mind"--that is, whether or not they are conscious of what others could be pondering and whether or not they have a feeling of self. a few dolphins have been "marked with black ink in a space in their our bodies now not obvious to them. they can, besides the fact that, suppose the ink. A replicate used to be provided, and the dolphins have been watched to work out in the event that they have been visually tracking their our bodies to discover the ink spot." a few have been. (pp. 180-181) this means self-awareness. In chimps it has lengthy been recognized that they realize themselves in mirrors and observe that the picture within the reflect isn't another chimp. right here it's pronounced that an Asian elephant "was additionally in a position to go the replicate self-recognition try out, time and again touching a white X at the facet of her head together with her trunk." (p. 180)
What is apparent to me is that the good intelligence established by way of chimps, bonobos and dolphins (and people, incidentally) is essentially the results of the necessity to comprehend and negotiate the complicated social relationships they've got with others. this is often the main to the expansion of those significant brains. yet intelligence outlined because the skill to resolve difficulties applies on to the hunt for and procurement of meals. Dolphins use cooperative looking to enclose and strength to the skin colleges of fish in order that they can't simply get away. They even use bubbles to confuse and confine the fish. Apes use their minds to discover and keep in mind the place and once they discovered end result in season in an unlimited forest.
Ape intelligence is outwardly restricted by way of their lack of ability to shape summary suggestions, in particular by way of language that might let them move on details to others. with regards to dolphins this isn't so transparent on the grounds that we're at a loss whilst attempting to comprehend what they're "saying" or why they perform a little of the issues they do. it can be that we'll locate that dolphins do certainly have a few feel of the summary and will speak approximately issues similar to fish now not instantly current or activities and occasions long ago or imagined, that is the essence of human conceptual talents. The trick is to have symbols equivalent to phrases to face for whatever no longer current or for acts now not in facts. Apes are constrained of their skill to represent. Are dolphins so constrained? we do not but know.
Bearzi and Stanford during this very readable ebook have performed a very good task of bringing to a normal readership many of the most up-to-date rules and discoveries which are best us towards a better realizing of those specific beings, and naturally to a greater comprehend of ourselves.
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Additional info for Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins
After the immense success of King Kong, Hollywood went apecrazy, producing an average of a monkey movie every two years or so. S. president-tobe Ronald Reagan, apes were and continue to be profitable endeavors; the second major remake of King Kong appeared in theaters in 2005. Hollywood also produced a string of ape movie flops like King Kong vs. Godzilla and The Beast that Killed Women, a story of a murderous gorilla that tiptoes nightly into a nudist camp to prey on topless women. It was the 1988 Gorillas in the Mist, however, starring Sigourney Weaver as Dian Fossey, the reallife pioneer of an up-close-and-personal style of gorilla research, that gave our primate cousins some form of redemption on the big screen.
Dian Fossey was an American occupational therapist who had gone on an African safari and came home determined to return to Africa to study wild animals. Leakey helped set up Fossey in the Virunga Mountains, a volcanic chain in east central Africa, where in the face of civil unrest, health problems, and numerous other hardships, she established and maintained a research station she named Karisoke for more than ten years. Fossey's triumph and trag- 57 BEAUTIFUL MINDS edy are well known to many through Gorillas in the Mist, a Hollywood film based on her book.
She was eighteen and was evidently trying to swim offshore to die by suicide. When we f o u n d her, she had all her travel and identification documents tied around her neck in a plastic bag. The bag also 26 An Eternal Fascination contained a letter, which I suspect must have been some explanation for her decision to kill herself. The doctor told me that had we not found her when we did, she would surely have died. That is when I remembered the dolphins and how we had come u p o n her. Sheer coincidence?