wild dolphin seeks out human help

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by rhubarbodendron, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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-do...BzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_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?
     
  2. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^So, Orcas are just like humans, then. ;)
     
  4. Bumbles861

    Bumbles861 Admiral Premium Member

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    I saw that on the news this morning. Absolutely amazing to see.
     
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    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...
     
  6. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Good thing we have Megan Fox saving us all:
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVGK39R0DoU[/yt]
     
  7. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Yes, definitely.

    Yes, definitely.

    Any sentient species with intelligence equal to (or greater than :D) 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.
     
  8. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    Such a wonderful story. Made my week! :)

    Meh. Jon Brandis beat her to the punch by about two decades.
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    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.
     
  10. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Orcas aren't actually whales, funnily enough, they're dolphins.
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dolphins, Whales, Welsh, all the same.
     
  12. Anji

    Anji Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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!
     
  13. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  14. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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)
     
  15. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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:

    is mind-bendingly fascinating to me. I could at least dream about it.
     
  16. RJDonner&Blitzen

    RJDonner&Blitzen Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Eh, he's just being cynical. Animals compete with and kill their own kind all the time. When Humans kill each other it's because they're listening to their animal instincts instead of their rational mind.

    Like some others, it's occurred to me to use computers to catalog all the sounds a dolphin makes and then create an artificial language based on those sounds. A computer program could then be written that translates back and forth. Young dolphins could be trained in that language by scientists while still being trained in regular dolphin communication by older dolphins. We would then have a group of dolphin ambassadors. :mallory:
     
  17. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    that's not a bad idea. I had been thinking only along the lines of a direct communication which, as YellowSubmarine pointed out, is difficult for anatomical reasons.

    Alternatively, we could develop a language based on symbols on a touchscreen or a set of cards you'd have to touch (that's something both species could do)


    I don't think you can compare the killing of animals and humans with each other. Animals kill for food or territorial reasons (wich usually are about food, in the end). Humans often kill for fury, for greed and in order to completely extinct the others, not just their immediate opponents. That's something any other organism on this planet would consider totally unthinkable.
     
  18. Wintermute

    Wintermute Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Humans kill and train to kill as a reflex, which is very reasonable. It is not just killing to eat nor killing to express rage, but cold, calculating killing for almost any reason imaginable.

    In my opinion, you couldn't make it a crime of murder to kill something or someone who inherently does not understand the rules, and makes themselves a killing threat in turn. Law is a mutual set of agreements subject to interpretations. While we can make it a crime to poach animals, for instance, we can't make it a crime for animals to kill a human being, that would be silly. We can't even put humans not of sound mind on the stand. Let alone expect animals to abide by law or human concepts like object persistance (that something exists when it's out of sight), let alone property or rights.

    Anyway, if it's a choice between dolphins and humans I choose humans. I think Earth has a better chance of fighting off asteroids with humans.

    (Of course you can't watch that video and not go awwwww)....
     
  19. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    One problem is that the language you develop will probably only be appropriate to that dolphin. Humans have hundreds of languages. There is no reason to believe all dolphins use the same one. If they do share complex information through vocal communication, it's likely that dolphin communities around the world have their own language families, dialects, and even some language isolates.

    Dolphin communication probably also consists of body language, so translating only their sounds wouldn't necessarily give you any useful information.

    In other words, this is a much, much more difficult problem than people may assume.
     
  20. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The thing is that even if all dolphins used the same language throughout the world and even if it was largely based on vocalization, we could still be facing an even bigger problem. They have amazing hearing that could recognize subtleties in sound that we are probably not even looking at. If these are part of a any form of communication, we can be very far from understanding it. We might as far as looking at a waveform of human speech is close to hearing it.

    Hey, to some people like Bill O'Reilly even human languages from the other side of the planet sound like gibberish, you can't possibly expect us to figure out dolphin any time soon now, do you?. :p Nah, hopefully, we're more clever than that. ;)