Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Return to the Sea


Fishermen in Japan have accidentally caught a bottlenose dolphin with rear fins. These are thought to be the remains of hind legs, indicating that dolphin ancestors walked. The fins of common dolphins still have finger bones like a human hand. Though land animals evolved from sea life, about 50 million years ago dolphins abandoned the land and returned to the sea. Maybe dolphins know something we don't.

From my own experience, there are many advantages to living underwater. It is much easier to regulate one's body temperature when submerged. Tropical storms are hardly a bother. Swimming every day keeps one in excellent shape, which is why you don't see dolphins with pot bellies. There is a place off the coast of Queensland where dolphins come so close to shore that a little girl can wade out and touch them.

The dolphins tell me that their bulbuous skulls are shaped that way to localise sound signals, like the sonar dome in the bow of a submarine. That is also the purpose of the oil reservoir in the Sperm whale's head. I have never seen this written in the literature. Should I write a paper?

If we are ever to find intelligent life in Space we should be able to recognise it on Earth. Dolphins are more intelligent than we are in some ways. Dolphins do not waste their lives on drugs, alcohol, or "dark energy." This is the view from a dolphin's world, which looks very inviting.

7 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

This is so sad. In the land of Pounamu people can also swim with Dolphins. Heh, I've been banned by CV. Hee, hee.

12:14 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Banned by Communist Variance should be a badge of honour. Like dictators, they are so insecure that they ignore or squelch those who disagree. It is sad that Christine was scared off the web after letting you guest-post. You and I know how to take criticism.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Frank Glover said...

Of course, if dolphins had hands and technology in addition to their intelligence, they might have a more familiar set of problems to us (as opposed to the ones they may have, that we don't readily observe), as well...

5:16 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

HI Frank, and thanks for incuding thisd blog in your link list. Interesting idea. If they had hands they might have become us.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Rae Ann said...

In some shamanistic teachings dolphins represent the power of breath and sound. While living in the water they still need to breathe air and have rhythmic patterns of breathing and making sounds. That they seem to communicate through water as well or even better than air should tell us something about the nature of water. I'm not sure what, though. lol

11:09 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Low frequency sounds travel farther in water than any sound we can make, up to thousands of miles depending upon water conditions.

3:55 PM  
Blogger serge said...

Great post. The theory that the spermaceti substance in the cachalot's head is used for echo location has been around for some years, maybe 50 years.

this image shows a theoretical sound propagation path in the head:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yhq8vy

here's
an animated gif

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yjtzpo

you realize that much knowledge about this are military secrets because they are used in underwater warfare. (I don't know any such secrets.)

some of the most interesting public works demonstrating some of the cetacean intelligence capabilities are from Dr Batteau (I think that he died prematurely in Florida, working for the navy), Dr. J.C.Lilly (who died in Hawaii, retired after working for the company since WWII), Dr. Diana Reiss (living in New York), Dr. Denise Herzing (living in Florida), Dr Louis Herman (Hawaii) who trained Tt's to respond to commands using an artificial grammar (for the navy). Mark Fischer at aguasonic.com is also advancing the field.

It's easy to be too anthropomorphic when trying to understand dolphins and whales. It's poor science but next to impossible to avoid.

2:51 PM  

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