“Head trainer Teri Turner Bolton presses her palms together over her head, the signal to innovate, and then puts her fists together, the sign for “tandem.” Comparative psychologist Stan Kuczaj records several seconds of audible chirping between [the dolphins] Hector and Han, then his camera captures them both slowly rolling over in unison and flapping their tails three times simultaneously. [...] Either one dolphin is mimicking the other [...] or it’s not an illusion at all: When they whistle back and forth beneath the surface, they’re literally discussing a plan.” [more inside]
...the big baleen whales can be over 100 feet in length, so their reproductive tracts likely wind for several feet. That’s a vagina you could walk through. (SFW)
Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
The latest generation of the UK's world-leading state-backed surveillance technologies have reportedly captured shocking scenes of high-risk potentially lethal narcotics use by gangs (or "juvenile pods") of young dolphins, who have worked out how to get a high from chewing pufferfish to release their neurotoxins [more inside]
Is there any reason to think dolphins and humans have a special relationship? Sure, but it might not be a friendly one
Bacteria from personalities has been used to make human cheese as part of an exhibition on synthetic biology in Dublin. This included cheeses grown from bacteria from various belly buttons, noses, armpits, tears, mouths and toes. If that's a bit too strong for you, then other exhibits in the show include humans reproducing dolphins for food, and mice cloned from Elvis Presley's DNA.
For the past several months, manatees, dolphins, and pelicans have been dying by the hundreds in Florida's Indian River Lagoon. [more inside]
A (presumably) wild dolphin entangled by fishing line approaches divers for assistance. [more inside]
Off the coast of Hawaii comes the first scientific evidence of cooperative play between a bottlenose dolphin and a humpback whale. In two separate incidents a dolphin rode on the head of a whale above the surface of the water. It is not, however, the only footage of dolphins and whales playing around and helping each other out. [more inside]
Introducing the Zapata Flyboard, which is being described as a "dolphin jetpack." Designed by Franky Zapata, the French jet-skiing champion and founder of Zapata Racing, Gizmag says of the $6,600 leisure product: "Aquaman meets Iron Man." [more inside]
The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg gets an opportunity to sit down with former Cuban President Fidel Castro. [more inside]
Dolphin escapes from SeaWorld tank in Japan, but is caught a few moments later. (SLYT)
"The Cove", about the annual dolphins slaughter in Taiji, Japan, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. However, the movie has only been screened once in Japan, during the Tokyo International Film Festival in October. Reaction from the town is a combination of "We're not doing anything wrong" and "It's none of your business what we do" with the added refrain of "We're protecting our cultural traditions" which is already familiar to anti-whaling activists and the like. Due to a media blackout, most Japanese people don't even know the hunt happens, but will the movie's increasingly high profile (It's even becoming a TV show) and the negative publicity force a change? More details on the making and content of the movie. [more inside]
Dolphins are so smart that they can convince fish to leap out of the water and into their mouths. (slyt)
Dolphin-headed artist Nate Hill has riled his Brooklyn neighbors by delivering bags of candy crack in the wee hours, just like a real drug dealer (he has moved on from giving FREE BOUNCY RIDES).
TV star. Amusement park attraction. Mine sweeper. Stew meat. Funded by SGI & Netscape founder James Clark, award-winning documentary The Cove goes undercover for an inside look at the brutal slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese town of Taiji. Previously.
Dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando make and play with bubble rings. Others learn by watching. (SLYP) via [more inside]
Dolphin Stampede. 58 seconds of unscripted, unexpected nature awesomeness. SLYT.
The Jupiter Foundation and the Whalesong Project are both organizations which record humpback whale songs from floating buoys; some of their archived recordings can be found here, here, and here. (Warning, last two may resize your browser.) DOSITS hosts a more comprehensive collection of oceanic sounds, with seals and fish along with its whales and dolphins. It also has a couple of nice sections on how animals use sounds in the ocean. (Previously.) [more inside]
Fuji got a new fin back in 2004 but after two years of plans and new materials Winter the dolphin is inspiring other prosthetic wearers and has a brand new tail.
Some dolphins are easy and some are murderous rapists, but all of them are into the nookie. Amazon River Dolphins are the casanovas of the cetacean order, practised in selecting the finest mud glops or algae for that special cow.
Crazy Eyes Dolphin vs. The Mad Cows, an animated short by Ian Stewart. Bum bum bum.
An artificial fin has given a bottlenose dolphin a new lease on life. Fuji, a dolphin at Okinawa's Churaumi Aquarium, lost 75 percent of her flukes to an unknown disease. But a prosthetic fin developed by Bridgestone Corporation engineers has enabled Fuji to swim again in the aquarium's dolphin lagoon. Watch the BBC video report here. Read the aquarium's notes on the project and see photos of Fuji both during and after the disease's onset here.
The world's tallest man saved a dolphin by reaching into its stomach to retrieve plastic the dolphin had eaten. Bao Xishun, the world's tallest man at 7' 8.95" (2m, 36.1cm), is a herdsman from Inner Mongolia and is just naturally tall, not suffering from acromegaly or gigantism. At least there's some good dolphin-related news coming out of China. (Previously.)
Death of a goddess Another first for China? The yangtze dolphin may be the first cetacean to be made extinct by man. Mentioned by Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardine in 'Last Chance to See' in 1989 when there were still sightings, the mammal may now be extinct. Two weeks into an international expedition to locate the last dolphins there have been no sightings. Fresh water porpoises seem to be incompatible with modern China's economic boom and accompanying environmental destruction. Attempts at conservation seem to be coming a bit late for this 20 million year old species.
It's the season once again for the annual dolphin drives in Japan, the appallingly cruel (see "Les massacres" video) practice of herding into shallow waters and brutally slaughtering these highly intelligent, self-aware and emotional creatures. There are those trying to stop it, and should you be so inclined, you can sign their petition.
Dolphin intelligence is under fire, but are these arguments over brain size relevant in the face of overwhelming behavioral evidence? Dolphins have been known to display almost all of the qualities which we would consider uniquely human, qualities that we would consider a mark of ‘higher’ intelligence. They are tool users, they are highly creative (perhaps even artistic), they enjoy recreational and social activities, from surfing (either on waves or around the prow of boats) to sex, and they have proven time and time again that they are self-aware. They’ve also formed symbiotic relationships with fisherman, and recent reports suggest that dolphins even have names for each other. But perhaps Douglas Adams said it best in the Hitchhiker’s Guide: “Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much... the wheel, New York, wars, and so on, whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely the dolphins believed themselves to be more intelligent than man for precisely the same reasons.”
Bubble Rings are like smoke rings, except they exist under water, and they are made of pure, clean air instead of smoke. Though normally seen in dolphins, here's a video of a beluga whale blowing a bubble in a Japanese aquarium. Nice, but is it culture?
Visualising Networks is fun. So are Monkey Networks (ppt). Dolphin Networks (pdf). Ant networks can aide network design. Does the Brain Work Like the Internet? Can the Internet Think? The Social Superorganism and its Global Brain? Webog Inequality. A City Is Not a Tree. The I Ching, a network of 384 pathways. The Whole, the Parts, and the Holes. Heterarchy, the secret of Japan, Inc.? Sense/non-sense;hierarchy/heterarchy... Heterachy and Heirarchy: Two Complimenatary categorises of description (pdf). Summary: "Our most significant problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking at which we produced them." (attributed to Einstein)
"I have now made my own flexible dolphin monofin, look at the drawing and the pictures. When I am in the pool I really look like a too large fish ;-)))." Isn't "monofluke" more appropriate? (Via)
It's a queer world after all. A series of animated documentary shorts about homosexuality in the animal kingdom.
Oh my (nasty and bizarre but not graphic or pornagraphic, in that it isn't intended to stimulate... or isit?) A male dolphin could snap your neck in an accidental thrust, and that would be the end of that relationship.
Dolphin activitsts arrested for cutting nets in Taiji, Japan Prominent on the news tonight in Japan, the Sea Shepherd activists discussed here are at it again. Is killing dolphins worse than killing pigs or other animals we eat?
Dolphin minesweeper returns from being AWOL Tacoma, the dolphin whose disappearance generated so much discussion last week (I take that back, 20-odd comments hardly counts as "much" on MeFi), was found safe and sound near Umm Qasr. Are military dolphins subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice? This at least calls for an Article 15.
“Takoma, the Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, had been in Iraq for 48 hours when he went missing on his first operation to snoop out mines… Takoma has now been missing for 48 hours and the solitary figure of Petty Officer Whitaker could be seen yesterday patting the water, calling his name and offering his favourite fish, but there was no response.”
Dolphin boy speaks Anyone remember the Peter Singer review of a book about bestiality linked here a month or so ago? The book is also reviewed at amazon by none other than the Dolphin Boy whose dolphin zoophilia or whatever site was discussed yesterday.