5 Reasons Dolphins Are, Like, Really Freaking Smart

    December 11, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Dolphins are, like, really freaking smart as hell. They’re smarter than a lot of Americans.That is not a scientific fact, but since they can do a whole range of things most people are unaware of and don’t shop at Walmart, I am pretty sure that it’s true.


    They’re Super Adaptive Fast Learners (Sometimes Quicker Than Humans)

    Dolphins are smart

    An experiment was set up in which both dolphins and humans were forced to invent new and novel behaviors to execute a task. Both dolphins and humans were stumped at first (and the humans were even observed getting pissed), but figured out how to solve the problem in approximately the same amount of time. That’s because dolphins are really smart.

    Dolphins learn very quickly. At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, dolphins were rewarded for cleaning their pools by being fed fish for every piece of trash they delivered to trainers. They were observed hiding the trash under a rock at the bottom of their pool, tearing off only small pieces at a time to receive a larger quantity of rewards than they would if they had given it up all at once. When one sneaky dolphin caught a seagull and was rewarded with a large number of fish, it began saving some of the fish and using them to tempt other gulls into its hungry smarty-pants jaws.

    Dolphins use tools to hunt and perform other tasks, and can easily adapt to learn how to use new ones. They’re smarter than monkeys, can do everything chimps can do and understand “abstract concepts” like the idea of zero.




    They’re Self-Aware

    Dolphins are smart

    When mirrors were placed in the tanks at dolphinariums, dolphins could be seen examining themselves. More interestingly, they could be seen examining themselves even more when a non-toxic black ink was used to print a mark on their sides.

    Dolphins recognize themselves in three stages that most other animals do not experience. First, there’s the “what the hell is this” stage in which they try to look around or past the mirror in an attempt to figure out what it is. Second, there’s the “that thing is doing what I’m doing” stage where they notice that their motions are being mimicked by the mirror image of themselves. Lastly, they use the mirror to look at themselves in what is actually called “self-directed behavior.” Dolphins are really freaking smart, and kind of vain.

    Humans, chimps and dolphins are the only animals known to closely examine themselves using a mirror. Dolphins, according to neuroscience professor Diana Reiss, especially enjoy looking at their own eyes and genitals. Perverts.



    They Understand Language

    dolphins are smart

    Akeakamai, a dolphin with a name that sounds like a badass Dragonball Z character, recognizes over 60 words and over 2,000 sentences in sign language. The dolphin’s ability to follow requests given in sentence form displays its genuine understanding of language instead of the mere memorization that it takes for your dog to understand stuff like “sit” and “stay.”

    Dolphins can also communicate “I don’t know” when given a choice between two options. Only people who are smart, like dolphins, are really comfortable admitting they don’t know.

    Dolphins communicate using a complicated system of vocal noises, and most adult dolphins are so smart that some experts have even lobbied to give the entire species the same rights as humans — which means that it would be illegal to kill or hold them in captivity. Which might be a good idea, considering that they may be able to kill themselves if they’re unhappy.



    Dolphin Suicide, You Say?

    dolphins are smart

    The dolphin lover (and possibly fucker) who trained dolphins for the hit show Flipper is very adamant about the idea that dolphins can commit suicide. He says that this is how his favorite dolphin, Cathy, died in his arms.

    Dolphins are physiologically able to stop breathing on command and can (debatably) suffocate themselves to death. There are cases of emo dolphins who have beat their heads against the walls of their tanks, protesting their own captivity. Others have jumped out entirely. Dolphins are really smart, we’re telling you.

    Although this isn’t scientifically proven, it is definitely possible that animals who are self-aware, understand the idea of the future, and experience a high level of other cognitive processes can become depressed and disenchanted with life.




    They Can Create Complex Ring Vortexes

    dolphins are smart

    Dude. Ring vortexes, like, totally incorporate a bunch of physics I don’t understand. It’s when a bubble ring is formed by an air bubble that makes up the inner core of a vortex surrounded by poloidally spinning water. While the air itself is also spinning poloidally. Or something. I just don’t understand it. But dolphins do.

    Dolphins can create these vortex rings, which are still studied in ‘fluid dynamics’ (AKA ‘we don’t get it’), for fun. It doesn’t stop there. After creating these complex, whirling rings of water using some sort of wizardry with air and physics, dolphins can then control the rings by manipulating the water around them.



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