05.09.2016 – Unity
What makes dolphins so special? There are many things to appreciate, like their playfullness, speed and intelligence. One thing really jumping out for me is their unity. Dolphins cooperate, are aware of each other, and make decisions as a collective. Today, for example, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins approached our boat, and stayed with us for quite a while. At one point, all animals swam away as a unity when they seemed to have had enough. Sometimes we also see one animal communicating for the group that they like to be left alone, by making tail slaps in the direction of the boat.
We have many indications that dolphins make decisions as a group, and we see this behaviour commonly. These behavioural examples cannot be ‘blamed’ on the fact that dolphins are ‘just’ animals following a leader. It has been shown time after time that dolphins are very intelligence and aware beings. For example, they have the second most complex brain on the planet. In contrast to humans, the emotional parts of the brains of dolphins are very integrated with other parts of the brain. Scientists think this might mean that they maybe cannot be out of touch with their emotions, and they also seem to be very aware of the emotions of other dolphins and even other species like humans. One scientist (Dee Eggers) even regularly quotes one of her students, saying “by dolphin standards, humans might be autistic.” We need more research on this topic, but it’s an interesting perspective.
Until we understand the dolphins better, it evokes a sense of appreciation to see how these animals communicate and act so effortlessly as a unity. Dolphins might be able to teach us a lot – if we take the time to really observe them with an open mind.
by Judith Kok
09.00: Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins
17.00: Pilot Whales
09.00: Atlantic Spotted Dolphins
15.30: Bottlenose Dolphins