Amazing stories of dolphin intelligence. Intelligence is so much bigger than we assume.

Amazing stories of dolphin intelligence. Intelligence is so much bigger than we assume.

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Amazing stories of dolphin intelligence. Intelligence is so much bigger than we assume.

Originally shared by Ralf Haring

“All the dolphins at the institute are trained to hold onto any litter that falls into their pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade the litter for fish. In this way, the dolphins help to keep their pools clean. Kelly has taken this task one step further. When people drop paper into the water she hides it under a rock at the bottom of the pool. The next time a trainer passes, she goes down to the rock and tears off a piece of paper to give to the trainer. After a fish reward, she goes back down, tears off another piece of paper, gets another fish, and so on.”

“One day, when a gull flew into her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish. This seemed to give Kelly a new idea. The next time she was fed, instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish. After mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the dolphins.”


  1. Very nice friends to Humans….

  2. Very interesting

  3. Yes, much bigger. There needs to be a tectonic change in our understanding of both Intelligence and Consciousness. This change will shape the future just as the Copernican Revolution did, just as Einstein’s Relativity did, just as Quantum Theory did. The Future Awaits.

  4. Wonderful article showing the intelligence of yet another species. We owe it to them to keep the waters clean. Off-shore drilling go-ahead by Trump will only destroy more of their habitat.

  5. Eli Fennell that’s a great point, and one I’d not thought about before. In fact, those examples of cognitive exceptionalism are particularly relevant as we consider paths to augmentation.

  6. Eli Fennell, yeah, that really is an interesting point.

  7. Seeing cause and effect in the veridical plane (what the dolphin was learning and teaching) is pretty difficult for most of us who have average intelligence. 90% of our educations are about learning the connections between cause and effect, the three R’s support that kind of learning. …But then there’s reaching the end of what is known in one’s area of expertise (what my husband, a retired scientist, says he “really” knows), and so one arrives at what cannot be known in time and space about a subject, and that is a different type, but an important type, of knowing that only conscious beings can (be definition) strive for. Huston Smith (“Forgotten Truths”) addresses this area as that of wonder, consciousness itself, meaning; and says that we have access to that kind of knowing at every given moment even as we are pinned down in space and time. Think of the power of dreams, stories, myths. …I have part of his book online for a class I taught in Critical Thinking at the following URL. I believe , but cannot know, that the need for authentic integrated intelligence has never been greater. That said, observing what happens when there is a lack of “basic” intelligence (cause and effect) in people with power is sobering! [Maybe being presided over by dolphins might be a good idea! ;’)] – AuthenticThinking.pdf

  8. Meg Tufano, that looks like an excellent read. I just skimmed a bit of it and it looks like something that I will have to add to my “someday list.”

    I was just talking about something somewhat related with my wife, CJ, this morning on our walk. When you listen to some spiritual teachers, they will tell you that they don’t really know anything. I’ve heard Adyashanti say something like this a number of times, and I must admit that at first it struck me as somewhat disingenuous. Then what I realized is that by “know” what he means is “understand” in the thinking sense of the word. There is a knowing, which in my personal experience is quite profound and spiritual in the way that sits within me. Then there is an understanding, which tends to be more mental and, as much research has shown (see Daniel Kahneman), subject to serious errors. We are moving to a world where the sloppy heuristic thinking of what Kahneman calls System 2 is making way for an increasingly automated System 1 thinking, or what I am starting to describe as “statistical thinking.” Machine learning is moving us there. And still, there is this other sense of knowing that doesn’t fit neatly into either of these two categories, in my opinion. – Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions: Huston Smith: 9780062507877: Books

  9. Goodbye and thanks for all the fish

  10. So interesting lerning point

  11. Gideon Rosenblatt My experience of the word “knowing” is many-dimensional from (a) studying Plato (whose steps to knowledge are the basis for all the early philosophers); and then (b) from translating the Bible from the Greek where “knowing” someone meant something quite different from Platonic love! ;’) Then of course (c) there is our modern revolution of knowing of scientia (Latin for “knowledge.”) And I love our modern kind of knowledge because I know how hard-won it is. I have serious respect for what we glean from the hard thinking of science (fast and slow), Galileo (the inventor of the scientific method) being my favorite personage in history after Socrates. Then (d) there is Carl Jung, the gnostic psychologist who pretty much proves that the divine is real (he says he does not have faith in God because he knows God, something the theologian Tillich thinks is true (that Jung proved God’s existence)). So all this to say that “categories” do not really work for knowledge, knowledge is too alive, too multidimensional, too powerful a force, for putting in one bin or another, a category coming from the Greek for “accusation.”

  12. Yes highly intelligent and strong

  13. No time for that at this moment, Eli Fennell, but thanks. Putting the link here for future reference when I get back to my desk. – The study of acoustic signals and the supposed spoken language of the dolphins

  14. Discovery Cove in Florida. We where allowed to feed the 🐬 before we went for a ride. My turn I put the fish in the back of mines throat. The trainers kinda freaked out. Explained the dangerous chance I took by taking my time to place the fish. I To this day trusted that 🐬 Dolphin and let it Know it. They bond with humans and We bond with Them. So smart.

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