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Old January 23 2013, 08:45 AM   #1
rhubarbodendron
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wild dolphin seeks out human help

A wild dolphin near Hawaii that had gotten entangled in a fishing line sought help with a few divers and not only allowed them to remove the line but even tried to help them by moving into the right position:
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/injured-dol..._ylv=3#vX7T3hF


In my opinion the dolphin
1) was aware that the line was human-made
2) knew he (or she, rather, I think. The video is a bit dark) couldn't get it off alone
3) realized that removing a man-made thing might require fingers (and the human attached to them)
and consequently approached a human.
In other words, the "dumb animal" thought, analyzed the situation, drew conclusions and acted on them. Something many children would not have done.

However, some might claim the dolphin acted purely on instinct or by coincidence.

What do you think? Are dolphins a sentinent species? Should they been given protection? Should they be treated different to other protected species, possibly even given the same status as humans? How about the other whales?
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Old January 23 2013, 06:34 PM   #2
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

Are dolphins a sentinent species?
Definitely.

Should they been given protection?
Of course. But that has nothing to do with them being sentinent.

Should they be treated different to other protected species, possibly even given the same status as humans?

Probably when they start knitting pullovers.

How about the other whales?
Orcas and other whales are extremely intelligent. But then again, Orcas are huge, sadistic assholes as well.
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Old January 23 2013, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

^So, Orcas are just like humans, then.
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Old January 23 2013, 08:04 PM   #4
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

I saw that on the news this morning. Absolutely amazing to see.
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Old January 23 2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

Dolphins are actually extraterrestrial life-forms long relocated to Earth that have been trying for centuries to communicate with us. We've been incorrectly interpreting their various flips, spins, and the occasional bouncing back of a beach ball as amusing tricks, when they've really been trying to warn us of something impending...
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Old January 23 2013, 08:58 PM   #6
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Dolphins are actually extraterrestrial life-forms long relocated to Earth that have been trying for centuries to communicate with us. We've been incorrectly interpreting their various flips, spins, and the occasional bouncing back of a beach ball as amusing tricks, when they've really been trying to warn us of something impending...
Good thing we have Megan Fox saving us all:
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Old January 23 2013, 11:30 PM   #7
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
What do you think? Are dolphins a sentinent species?
Yes, definitely.

Should they been given protection?
Yes, definitely.

Should they be treated different to other protected species, possibly even given the same status as humans? How about the other whales?
Any sentient species with intelligence equal to (or greater than ) Humans should have equal rights. This could include some cetaceans, some primates, elephants and even some birds. Maybe. But, while many of these species are sentient, it's hard to know both the level and nature of their intelligence. How do we define the equivalence of something as abstract as intelligence? And if they are of an intelligence equal to but of a different nature than Humans, how do we define their participation in society? For example, should they be allowed to work, pay taxes, vote, own property? For these questions to be answered, there needs to be a lot more research done on animal intelligence and we must be able to communicate with them as equals.

I would expect that we will ultimately discover that some of these animals are sentient and intelligent, but of an intelligence not quite equal or compatible with Human intelligence. They should therefore be given certain rights and protections, as would, for example, a Human with Down's Syndrome.
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Old January 23 2013, 11:39 PM   #8
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

Such a wonderful story. Made my week!

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Good thing we have Megan Fox saving us all:
Meh. Jon Brandis beat her to the punch by about two decades.
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Old January 24 2013, 12:13 AM   #9
Deranged Nasat
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

For what it's worth, I personally believe that dolphins, along with elephants, great apes and a few other animals, should receive protection similar to that of humans - that is, killing them should be considered a far greater offence than killing most other animals, and essentially defined as a murder. Or a manslaughter, etc.

The problem, of course, is where we would draw the line and how we'd be able to determine the extent of a given species' sapience. Without the ability to actually, definitely state how sapient these animals are - or even to know if a cross-species scale of sapience can be successfully drawn up - it's just a lot of guesswork and speculation. I freely admit that my personal ethical standards in this might seem arbitrary. Where's the cut-off point? I consider killing a dolphin or an elephant an act of great immorality, but what about, say, pigs? Pigs are often said to be very intelligent, and I quite happily support the slaughter of pigs so that I may feast upon their succulent flesh. And what about "outlier" intelligences like the octopus or the corvids?

It's an interesting dilemma.
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Old January 24 2013, 01:04 AM   #10
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
How about the other whales?
Orcas and other whales are extremely intelligent. But then again, Orcas are huge, sadistic assholes as well.
Orcas aren't actually whales, funnily enough, they're dolphins.
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Old January 24 2013, 01:10 AM   #11
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

trampledamage wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
How about the other whales?
Orcas and other whales are extremely intelligent. But then again, Orcas are huge, sadistic assholes as well.
Orcas aren't actually whales, funnily enough, they're dolphins.
Dolphins, Whales, Welsh, all the same.
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Old January 24 2013, 02:39 AM   #12
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

I've been studying wildlife rehabilitation for the past four years and I can tell you from person experience we are all idiots trying to figure out how to communicate with aliens from Mars or wherever and yet we don't try to learn how to communicate with the other non-human life forms on our own planet.

All life deserves the same, if not more, respect than human beings.

And yes, dolphins are the most intelligent species on the planet!
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Old January 24 2013, 02:52 AM   #13
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

Is this really news? I was under the impression that Dolphins in the wild have been known to seek out humans when they need help. And the reverse has been known to be true. Dolphins will come to the aid of humans if they are aware of danger or see one in need.
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Old January 24 2013, 07:30 AM   #14
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

I think the latter is more common. I've never herd before of a dolphin seeking out human help (but then I come from a region where we have no sea).
What I found so remarkable about this particular case was that the dolphin made the connection between the fishing line and humans.

I very much agree with RJD and Deranged Nasat: the problem is how to define intelligence, particularly if it is of a different kind than ours? (my old Zoology Prof used to say: humans build bombs. No mouse ever would be such an idiot to build a mousetrap)

Trampledamage, I am no marine biologist so I might be wrong, but I was under the impression that dolphins are part of the whale family, just a different branch than the "classical" whales like e.g. humpbacks?


Anji, that's a very good point, imho. We should first get to know our own neighbourhood before we set out to explore other planets.
I am not quite up with the recent discoveries but from what I heard, certain elements of whale and dolphin language have been deciphered.

Has nobody ever thought of developing a sign language for communication with dolphins? It worked with Washoe, after all! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washoe_(chimpanzee)
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Old January 24 2013, 09:10 AM   #15
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Re: wild dolphin seeks out human help

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
Has nobody ever thought of developing a sign language for communication with dolphins? It worked with Washoe, after all! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washoe_(chimpanzee)
Dolphins are very good at making sounds and have a wide range of vocalizations. Yes, you can try to make the Hitchhiker's jokes true by creating a language centred around their dancing in and out of water, but it would be probably much easier to create a language based on their vocalizations. The ad with Megan Fox above, while intended to be amusing and entertaining, is very close to what I consider to be the right approach to communicating with dolphins. At least conceptually.

Due to their lack of arms and hands, it would be as difficult to adapt our sign language for them as it would be to adapt our spoken one – neither our vocal apparatus, nor our limbs have a lot in common. I'm not saying we should not explore the option, but I wouldn't say it's the best one.

--

There's one thought that keeps me excited, though. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely, but there's still a tiny chance that they already have a rudimentary but non-trivial language that they use between each other that we have been unable to decode or notice due to the inherent differences between us.

There have been instances of dolphins seemingly able to communicate complex thoughts between each other. There are simpler explanations for this, of course, but the thought that the dolphin from the OP could have "talked" to other dolphins about humans to figure out these:

In my opinion the dolphin
1) was aware that the line was human-made
2) knew he (or she, rather, I think. The video is a bit dark) couldn't get it off alone
3) realized that removing a man-made thing might require fingers (and the human attached to them)
and consequently approached a human.
is mind-bendingly fascinating to me. I could at least dream about it.
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