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Are dolphins really smart? : the mammal behind the myth

by Gregg, Justin,

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction QL737.C432 G748 2013
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  QL737.C432 G748 2013
How intelligent are dolphins? Is their communication system really as complex as human language? And are they as friendly and peaceful as they are made out to be?The Western world has had an enduring love affair with dolphins since the early 1960s, with fanciful claims of their "healing powers" and "super intelligence". Myths and pseudoscience abound on the subject. Justin Gregg weighs up the claims made about dolphin intelligence and separates scientificfact from fiction. He puts our knowledge about dolphin behaviour and intelligence into perspective, with comparisons to scientific studies of other animals, especially the crow family and great apes. He gives fascinating accounts of the challenges of testing what an animal with flippers and nofacial expressions might be thinking. Presenting the results of the latest research in animal behaviour, Gregg challenges many of the widespread beliefs about dolphins, while also inspiring the reader with the remarkable abilities common to many of the less glamorized animals around us - such aschickens.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In popular culture dolphins enjoy a reputation as happy-go-lucky sea creatures whose sophisticated display of social etiquette and amazingly intricate clicking language suggest a remarkable intelligence rivaling even that of humans. But how much of this lofty image is based on media hyperbole and how much on unvarnished evidence? In this thorough and engaging report on contemporary cetacean science, Aquatic Mammals coeditor and dolphin researcher Gregg separates the myths from the realities about these grinning SeaWorld stars. For starters, Gregg debunks many still widely believed notions first publicized by John Lilly, often deemed the father of modern dolphin research, such as the idea that larger brains (true for dolphins) necessarily correlate with higher animal IQs (not true for all animals). Also, while dolphins' echolocation talents give them enormous communication and food-finding advantages, similar abilities have been noted in animals as lowly as the common chicken. Though Gregg's studies of dolphin intelligence verges on the scholarly, his writing skills are solid and his observations are often fascinating.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Gregg, described as a "spokesperson for mainstream science," and co-editor of Aquatic Mammals, analyzes the state of scientific research on dolphin cognition-alongside other notable species such as apes, corvids, and bees-to address the mystique arising from John Lilly's writings about dolphin intelligence, which inspired some organizations to push for legal cetacean personhood. Gregg argues that defining an animal's intelligence as a single metric is an unscientific attempt to fit behaviors into a human-like model. He prefers operational definitions of specific cognitive tasks, which allow us to acknowledge limited skills, such as facial recognition abilities among sheep. Gregg dismisses brain size or the possession of specific biological structures as indicators of complex cognition, and highlights difficulties in test design for understanding a theory of mind, including the mirror self-recognition test. Defining language in terms of parameters like limitless expression and arbitrariness of symbols, Gregg shows that, like chimpanzees, dolphins have communication systems with some sophisticated characteristics, but which do not approach the complexity of human language. Finally, Gregg addresses the myth of dolphins as gentle creatures, highlighting aggressive behaviors and infanticide in the wild, leaving readers with a sense of dolphins as fascinating creatures, but not ones to put on a pedestal for wisdom, ethics, or nearness to the human experience. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Dolphins -- Behavior -- Popular works.
Dolphins -- Psychology -- Popular works.
Animal intelligence -- Popular works.
Cognition in animals -- Popular works.
Dolphins -- Popular works.
Publisher Oxford, United Kingdom :2013
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description vi, 301 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 222-283) and index.
ISBN 9780199660452 (hardcover)
019966045X (hardcover)
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