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(Salon)   Dolphins aren't special. I mean seriously, all they plan of leaving us with is an insincere "Thanks for all the fish"   (salon.com) divider line 38
    More: Obvious, social cognition, common misconceptions, animal intelligence  
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3453 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Dec 2013 at 8:42 AM (33 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



38 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-12-08 08:47:05 AM
In cahoots with the mice, I'd wager.
 
2013-12-08 08:48:02 AM
Once they develop opposable thumbs, we're finished.
 
2013-12-08 08:51:33 AM
Can you blame them after the tuna thing?
 
2013-12-08 08:52:15 AM
Agrees:

media.tumblr.com
 
2013-12-08 08:54:28 AM
Special as in unique? Or special as in "Can't be allowed to be use scissors"?
 
2013-12-08 08:55:28 AM
Special as in can be taught tricks and tastes good grilled.
 
2013-12-08 08:58:06 AM
Yet no one you see is smarter than he.
 
2013-12-08 08:59:16 AM
3.bp.blogspot.com

Snorky mad!

/dumb article is dumb
//maybe a dolphin bullied him in school?
 
2013-12-08 08:59:21 AM
thebobbydshow.com
And they hump and run too.  No cuddling afterwards.
 
2013-12-08 09:01:04 AM
Came here for the Hank Hill meme

Leaving satisfied.
 
2013-12-08 09:02:46 AM
So the scientist they are interviewing says dolphins aren't special, but goes on to say that dolphins:

- are quite skilled when it comes to tasks involving social cognition
- have some form of self-awareness
- understand the human pointing gesture
- are able to comprehend sentences up to five symbols long
- live in extremely complex societies

All of which are rare traits in the animal kingdom.

I guess his point is that the above is rare and human-like, but not necessarily better, so we shouldn't say dolphins are special as that discriminates against sea slugs, which are unique in their own sluggy way?

I don't see that argument going anywhere.  Humans look for themselves in other species, and value it when we find it.  That's not going to change.
 
2013-12-08 09:04:31 AM
Sound like typical mammals to me.
 
2013-12-08 09:07:15 AM
Dolphins live by a Warrior Code which must not be oh wait wrong type of dolphin.
 
2013-12-08 09:17:12 AM
How dare you misquote that line subby.

Its "So Long, Thanks for all the fish"

Heretic, your geek card is being revoked
 
2013-12-08 09:40:37 AM
Someone pointed this out yesterday (and probably before) but Salon has to be checking out Fark for story ideas.  IMO, each writer at Salon should have to disclose their Fark ID.
 
2013-12-08 09:41:18 AM

jedihirsch: How dare you misquote that line subby.

Its "So Long, Thanks for all the fish"

Heretic, your geek card is being revoked


Misquote? That's not even English.
 
2013-12-08 09:46:22 AM
Plus, they leave racist voicemails.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-12-08 09:58:41 AM
Plus, they get excessively jealous at the prospect of another team having a perfect season.
 
2013-12-08 10:22:27 AM
Worse than Hitler, they are!
 
2013-12-08 10:32:59 AM
i1182.photobucket.com
 
2013-12-08 10:35:51 AM

jedihirsch: How dare you misquote that line subby.

Its "So Long, Thanks for all the fish"

Heretic, your geek card is being revoked


Well, if you're going to get picky, it's actually "So long and thanks for all the fish"...
 
2013-12-08 10:46:13 AM

jedihirsch: How dare you misquote that line subby.

Its "So Long, Thanks for all the fish"

Heretic, your geek card is being revoked


The line was properly quoted, but needed a "..." to indicate that it wasn't originally a full sentence. YOU misquoted it by removing a word in the middle.

/And I'm sure there's a mistake in my post somewhere, too.
 
2013-12-08 11:21:36 AM
What's next subby?  You're gonna say electricians aren't special either?
 
2013-12-08 11:23:59 AM

I May Be Crazy But...: jedihirsch: How dare you misquote that line subby.

Its "So Long, Thanks for all the fish"

Heretic, your geek card is being revoked

The line was properly quoted, but needed a "..." to indicate that it wasn't originally a full sentence. YOU misquoted it by removing a word in the middle.

/And I'm sure there's a mistake in my post somewhere, too.


Let's all just relax with a hot bath and a nice gin & tonic.
 
2013-12-08 11:31:48 AM

SomeAmerican: So the scientist they are interviewing says dolphins aren't special, but goes on to say that dolphins:

- are quite skilled when it comes to tasks involving social cognition
- have some form of self-awareness
- understand the human pointing gesture
- are able to comprehend sentences up to five symbols long
- live in extremely complex societies

All of which are rare traits in the animal kingdom.

I guess his point is that the above is rare and human-like, but not necessarily better, so we shouldn't say dolphins are special as that discriminates against sea slugs, which are unique in their own sluggy way?

I don't see that argument going anywhere.  Humans look for themselves in other species, and value it when we find it.  That's not going to change.


Glad to see my reading comp isn't completely trashed from years of corporate email communication followed by binge drinking. As I read on, I expected some kind of punch line.

To summarize the article: Dolphins aren't that special after all...no, wait: yes they are.

I want my 2 minutes back.
 
2013-12-08 11:38:25 AM

i466.photobucket.com

 
2013-12-08 12:13:24 PM
"Dolphins get a lot of good publicity for the drowning swimmers they push back to shore, but what you don't hear about is the many people they push farther out to sea! Dolphins aren't smart. They just like pushing things."
 
2013-12-08 12:23:16 PM
So dolphins aren't special in that they aren't telepaths with a magical undersea utopia full of friendship and love, but they are special in that they're at least as intelligent, curious and playful as I thought they were before reading the article.

Glad that was cleared up.
 
2013-12-08 12:45:11 PM
globalinfo4all.files.wordpress.com

Yeah, lets see a chicken do this...

/hot
 
2013-12-08 01:05:54 PM
Dolphins aren't special. I mean seriously, all they plan of leaving us with is an insincere "Thanks for all the fish"

Did you caught say of their plan of?
 
2013-12-08 01:06:19 PM
When I was working in education for a marine life park that rhymes with "Flea Hurled", we had this guy Mark who would come in and commune with the dolphins in the touch pool. He had an annual pass, so he came almost every day. One of the females was pregnant, and as per standard procedure, the exhibit was blocked off during and after the birth for veterinary observation. Mark literally had to be dragged away kicking and screaming "BUT SHE WOULD WANT ME TO BE THERE!" Annual Pass revoked.

Another time, a colleague was saddled with a couple of Xtian fundies on a tour, who used every opportunity to steer discussions into the God and Bible angle; they were seriously annoying everyone on the tour.

At the end of tour wrap-up, someone asked my friend how intelligent dolphins are...he said "that can be a difficult question to answer. If you'd like an honest answer, I can only tell you that they are highly specialized animals that are very, very good at being dolphins, just as we are incredibly good when it comes to being humans. It's an apple-and-oranges comparison."

Fundie Lady spoke up then, and said "What do you think is the most SIGNIFICANT difference between humans and dolphins?" obviously going for the "soul" angle. He said "The most significant difference? Offhand, I'd have to say that, unlike most animals, humans do not live in mortal terror of the vacuum cleaner." He got a round of applause for that one.

/CSB
 
2013-12-08 02:02:56 PM

RobSeace: jedihirsch: How dare you misquote that line subby.

Its "So Long, Thanks for all the fish"

Heretic, your geek card is being revoked

Well, if you're going to get picky, it's actually "So long and thanks for all the fish"...


*gasp*
I was wrong (though after long there still is a comma, so there)

I cannot live with the shame of what I have done I must perform Seppuku to erase my shame. Tell everyone I died honoring the legacy of the greatest scifi, nay of all genres,  satire writer of all time. My collection, all six book cases of books, are to be used to burn upon my pyre and my video game and dvd collection should be smashed. Good by cruel world.

Ok in all seriousness, I messed up like subby, so I can't blame subby much anymore for making an error like I, though it is pretty embarrassing. Good catch though, Its been awhile since I read the books, and I shouldn't have been so hard on subby
 
2013-12-08 02:19:12 PM
The question is, if dolphins have such large brains, why AREN'T they 'intelligent'? Big brains are useful for alot of things that they weren't necessarily designed for. Example: people enjoy music but to other animals it's just noise. There was no reason for an appreciation of music to evolve; its just a side effect of having a big brain. Like being able to do calculus, say.

Dolphins seem to be good at just being dolphins, whereas people are good at quite a few things. Having said that, I admit I'm not an expert on dolphins but that seems to be the case.

My guess is that alot of a dolphin's brain is hardwired to do something analogous to Fourier transforms and it can't be used for other things. The basic idea is that the lens of the eye is an analogue computer: it collects light from many directions and arranges it into a nice neat image on the retina of your eye. If you're using 'sonar' like dolphins do the problem is alot more complicated since a 'lens' would have to be about a foot in diameter at least and would have to have some rather odd physical properties. However, the incoming sound (sonar) waves can be unscrambled into an image with a huge amount of math.

I'm guessing dolphins' brains evolved to do this and probably for reasons of efficiency or precision they ended up being hard wired to do that one task. Their brains do math, ours are a bit more flexible: we solve problems and make tools and fire etc.

Just a guess.
 
2013-12-08 02:36:25 PM

jedihirsch: though after long there still is a comma, so there


Well, there is in the title of book 4, but curiously enough no comma in book 1 when the phrase is first used...
 
2013-12-08 03:29:55 PM

enemy of the state: The question is, if dolphins have such large brains, why AREN'T they 'intelligent'? Big brains are useful for alot of things that they weren't necessarily designed for. Example: people enjoy music but to other animals it's just noise. There was no reason for an appreciation of music to evolve; its just a side effect of having a big brain. Like being able to do calculus, say.

Dolphins seem to be good at just being dolphins, whereas people are good at quite a few things. Having said that, I admit I'm not an expert on dolphins but that seems to be the case.

My guess is that alot of a dolphin's brain is hardwired to do something analogous to Fourier transforms and it can't be used for other things. The basic idea is that the lens of the eye is an analogue computer: it collects light from many directions and arranges it into a nice neat image on the retina of your eye. If you're using 'sonar' like dolphins do the problem is alot more complicated since a 'lens' would have to be about a foot in diameter at least and would have to have some rather odd physical properties. However, the incoming sound (sonar) waves can be unscrambled into an image with a huge amount of math.

I'm guessing dolphins' brains evolved to do this and probably for reasons of efficiency or precision they ended up being hard wired to do that one task. Their brains do math, ours are a bit more flexible: we solve problems and make tools and fire etc.

Just a guess.


It seems like their brains are capable of a lot more but they've had limited opportunities to flex that muscle. They have complex societies, self awareness, they understand abstract gestures and language and demonstrate an ability to learn but they lack limbs capable of building tools or complex structures. It's possible our interaction with them might spur further development but how far can a civilization advance if they can't make anything? More importantly, if they can't record their collective knowledge and pass it on?
 
2013-12-08 05:04:35 PM
This should have had a followup tag, since it was correcting the earlier article (which we also got, IIRC, and which was also a Salon article IIRC or possibly Slate which would make more sense) where the "journalist" wildly misquoted the author's book and said dolphins were dumber than chickens.

Actually dolphins are NOT dumber than chickens, being one of the only known self-aware mammals besides great apes and elephants; understanding complex sentences and novel concepts, as the article states; if they are not "special" it's that they are not the god-beings it was trendy to assume they were back in the 70's and 80's. That's all.
 
2013-12-08 05:26:20 PM

MechaPyx: It seems like their brains are capable of a lot more but they've had limited opportunities to flex that muscle. They have complex societies, self awareness, they understand abstract gestures and language and demonstrate an ability to learn but they lack limbs capable of building tools or complex structures


Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs
 
2013-12-08 05:32:52 PM
Let's see dogs crew an interstellar ship:

i.imgur.com
 
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