Do you think a dolphin has ears on his head?”
We’ll never know the answer. But the question should be on everyone’s lips.
The research is in the journal Behavioral Ecology.
“It is fascinating that people who think they know so much about dolphins are just not that well informed,” the study’s lead author, Stephen O. Reis, said in a statement. The paper says scientists have known about dolphins’ ears for about a century, but many marine mammal researchers were unaware that humans also share a connection with them. “We wanted to see if people really could tell the difference between dolphins and humans,” said Reis, who runs a research station at a whale-watching destination near Sydney, Australia.
The research focused on four different populations of dolphin: the bottlenose, the pod of southern right whales and the northern right whales. Reis says dolphins in the northern right whales’ pods often swim close to humans in the sea. “If we take a boat into the waters of Sydney’s harbour all together,” he said, “I have never seen a human dive, just dolphins diving.”
People, on the other hand, were the ones who seemed to have the slightest of differences, Reis said. “The humans who could do this were pretty good at distinguishing between a dolphin and a human, even when the dolphins were only a few meters away.”
In a similar study conducted in 2012, Reis and colleagues took a closer look at people’s ability to tell the difference between a mother and a calf in the same room to determine whether dolphins were truly human-like. They found some differences are clearly observed, such as when humans are wearing swimsuits. The findings were posted to the International Journal of Primatology after they were published in the journal.
“If you think you can tell the difference between the mother and the calf from one yard away at sea,” the researchers wrote, “You’re wrong. It is quite possible to identify an adult female from a small distance, even over the water.”
You can see the findings here.
We’re glad to see that the research is finally making it to a broader audience with the scientific journal’s scientific title. It is the most comprehensive study to date, finding at least 60 different dolphins—an extraordinary number in a small area, Reis said.
It is true that some of the problems we face today are the direct result of the actions of the Nazis; many more still came about as
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