An excellent article by Phillip Hoare discusses dolphin intelligence. Here are the opening paragraphs:
So dolphins are people. Well, ‘non-human persons’ to be more accurate, and as such they deserve to have the same rights and be protected as humans.
That’s the extraordinary conclusion that scientists came to this week. Their claim — made at the world’s biggest science conference, the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver — has been prompted by the latest findings about the amazing abilities of dolphins and whales.
Studies now show that these cetaceans, as they are technically known, possess the next most impressive brains after humans, even ranking above the great apes.
As Tom White, a professor in philosophy and ethics and a key figure behind this week’s call, told me recently: ‘We’ve reached the point where we need to talk about the dolphin as a who, not a what.’
Man has had a long-standing fascination with these creatures. Sleek, exquisitely hydrodynamic and with a mouth that suggests they’re always smiling, their size, shape and deeply expressive eyes seem to mark them out almost as watery versions of ourselves.
For centuries, humans have realised that dolphins are not like other animals, and no one who has seen a pod of dolphins joyously riding the bow wave of a boat would deny that the sight makes their heart soar.