“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—while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons”
Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
It’s difficult to measure or quantify whether humans or whales/dolphins are more intelligent. Although one would argue, the last twenty years the sea mammals certainly have the edge.
Whales and dolphins are warm blooded mammals with complex brains and often larger than human brains. We know that they perceive a far greater range of frequencies than we do. They live a lifestyle so free from the distractions of human life that it should be the envy of any meditator or investigator into the nature of personal reality. Where they go on their inner journeyings, and what they know and understand – are beyond human fathoming – but that we can communicate with them on a heart level has been known by cultures across the whole world throughout history.
Humans perceive intelligence by virtue of knowledge, technology… Therefore, according to us, the dolphins and whales are not so intelligent. Both can’t make an iPad and download songs to their mp3 player.
One wonders what sort of answer the whales and dolphins would give if faced with the same question about humans?
Lets start with the brain size. The whales possess the largest brains ever developed on planet Earth (Terra). More important is the quality of the brain tissue. With four lobes, greater, more pronounced neocortex convolutions, and superior size, the brain of the sperm whale at 9,000 cc or the orca at 6,000 cc are the paragons of brain evolution on the Earth. By contrast, the human brain is 1,300 cc.
The whales have developed sonars that put any human made electronic sonar to shame. The whales are essentially internal submarines. They communicate with each other constantly and keep as a family. Their young for instance stay with the parents for a long time. They grieve and some scientists go as far as to claim that both dolphins and whales have empathy towards others on a much higher level.
If we look at the comparative intelligences of species strictly on cortical structural development alone, we can assign an average associative score relative to human intelligence. Let’s assign the average human brain a score of 100. This is the number we consider average on human Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests.
For thousands of years dolphins have been known to protect and aid humans. They are also known for their immensly warm feelings when in contact with children. There is a story out of a Greek island, of a sick child riding on the back of a dolphin each day. When the child passed away from the disase and stopped coming to the sea, the dolphin was said to have ‘felt’ what had happened and died shortly after, out of sorrow. There are countless examples of dolphins saving people in distress/drowning.
There is no questions both the dolphins and whales are intelligent. Are they more intelligent than humans? We may never know. It is important to note that numerous cultures spanning the globe consider the whales to be the “masters” of this planet! According to the native tribes of Australia and South America “If the whales go, humantity goes.” Strangely enough, the nations of Japan, Iceland and Norway have continued to ignore all international requests to stop hunting them. They use their skin for handbags.
4 thoughts on “Whales, Dolphins, more Intelligent than Humans?”
As usual Mark you are able to put into words what many of us believe that whales and dolphins are smarter than man! I have purchased your novel and am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival! Thanks for all you do for dolphins.
I agree with Kirsten. Great blog post. The paradox of the dolphin and whale intelligence vs man is mirrored and still a great mystery. Who is the smartest? I am leaning towards the dolphins and the whales. They have evolved to the point of not wanting or needing to control or dominate. Love and companionship are a deep driving force for them. Material “wealth” seems to be the dominating and driving force behind man’s earthly desire… Not all man, but it seems enough to have caused great devastation to our planet.
I echo Kirsten’s words…I will share this story on Twitter and I will also post this to my Facebook Page http://Facebook.com/DolphinsLoveUs ..thank you and I dream of the day that these magnificent “People of the Sea” are free and can live out their lives free and unharmed by man. #dolphinsloveus > ♥°°°♫ ♫ .
Great comments, and thank you, Kirsten, Cheryl and Jackie. I think they have a comparable but very different form of intelligence to us, as I explain in the video clip on the site: http://www.dolphin-way.com/dolphin-way-movie/