There were about 12 of us there on a brisk autumn morning and there was a pod of about 6 dolphins, including a calf. The locals told us we probably wouldn't get much interaction as the dolphins were shy because of the calf. I swam out and within 10 minutes, the calf was absolutely enamoured with me. It swam up and played a form of "tag" and let me pat it, however it wouldn't go near any of the adults. Eventually the whole pod came to swim with me.
It was an absolutely incredible experience and 10 year old me felt like a dolphin whisperer.
Side note: My parents managed/ran the town swimming pool and so I was I very confident swimmer after spending all my spare time at the pool.
I don’t believe they actually miss the tourists themselves. Tourists are merely delivery vehicles for food. People are probably projecting their fantasies about animals being fundamentally better than humans.
Which actually seems more plausible to me than food motivation. Dolphins are one of the most intelligent, social, and oftentimes pointlessly cruel animals we know of. All this points to an animal with a cognitive level capable of having been interested in humans and now being bored due to their absence. And in that boredom, having not much better to do with their time than go looking for “gifts”. It’s also possible they’re just motivated by the food of course, but ultimately I feel like a Dolphin’s mental complexity is high enough that it’s hard for us to say exactly what motivates them in complex situations.
The drowning and shark savior stories are countless, and date back to before recorded history in some cultures. Maybe they aren't so bad?
There's also studies that can't find any reason they follow ship wakes besides "fun". I think they don't get as much credit as they may deserve
All of this is to say what everyone else is saying. They're complex creatures with sometimes non-trivial motivations.
The animal section of the Play wiki is interesting, especially the cognitive theories https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play_(activity)?wprov=sfti1
This is somewhat analogous to your explanation of dolphins acting altruistically toward humans because we resemble their young when struggling in the water.
In the same way, it would be very hard for most of us to ignore a lost crying puppy wandering down the street.
Humpback also have spindle (mirror) neurons in their brains, those are thought to be related to cooperation, empathy, etc. Humans have them too, but not many other species (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061127111607.h...).
It is good to not anthropomorphise, but we really should finally move away from Descartes' view on animals being simple automatons.
“I don’t believe parents actually love their children and vice-versa. Parents are merely delivery vehicles of food for children. Children are delivery vehicles of future care for parents. Humans are probably projecting their fantasies about themselves being fundamentally better than they are in reality.”
We don’t directly perceive that dolphins project their fantasies about humans, but like with our fellow humans, it doesn’t mean they aren’t doing that.
"Love" in particular, of course, is both a highly loaded and acutely ill-defined concept, so "can a <non-human animal> feel love" is probably a wrong question .
By the way, it's rather appropriate that you mentioned hyenas given how misunderstood they are by laypeople, in no small part due to their presentation in a certain Disney film.
Oh, and, yes, I did choose hyenas specifically because they're a misunderstood species. Glad you picked up on that.
I don't see anything inaccurate with this base level analysis, although it obviously elides most of the finer elements of human existence that exist a bit higher up on Maslow's hierarchy.
It's the same with any healthy human relationship. Can you imagine how sad it would be to make extraordinary efforts for a person who did absolutely nothing for you? We reward those who provide us something of value -- security, affection, a sympathetic ear -- with our sacrifices.
1. Human leaves, cat gets separation anxiety due to feeling less emotionally secure
2. Human leaves, cat gets separation anxiety because their primary source of food is missing
Some cats are food motivated. Others are affection motivated. Some are both.
After a period of sulking first, of course.
Imagine going through the effort to domesticate and entire species to provide fire, food, shelter, etc. and then have them wander off somewhere without asking. At least they still upload those funny worship videos to the internet.
Domestic cats' natural habitat is with humans. They were bred by humans for domestic characteristics.
Agreed, and neither is that a natural habitat for humans,in particular the not going outside part.
I don’t know that, of course, but I’m only assuming dolphin social tendencies can bridge the species gap in a similar way that human social tendencies do (and for cats, and dogs, and horses, and lions, etc.)
People say that about pets too, but those people usually don't own pets. Why can't animals have similar social instincts to humans? Maybe they just want to hang out too.
I think your perspective is from a lack of personal experiences and relationships with non-human animals, or you would feel different.
I've had many relationships with all kinds of animals, and while food is often the initial connect (just as it often is with human), there is also much recognition, affection, comfort, attachment, appreciation of each other's company.
I've experienced this with cats, dogs a sparrow, a pigeon, and many other animals, so to think that dolphins, some of the smartest animals we know, would miss the company, play, etc. of humans does not seem that far-fetched to me, personally.
Sharing food between mammals generally leads to bonding. Like, all mammals.
The projection here would solely be: "people are social animals and we miss seeing the dolphins; dolphins are social animals and they could miss us too"
That's a much smaller leap than you're suggesting people are making. The other way also seems to risk erring on the "people are special and unique compared to animals" side.
It’s not uncommon for people to say things like this: “Honestly is it wrong that I’m happier that the dog survived the car crash than its owner?” or “it would be better if we all just die off and let Mother Nature heal.”
I’ve recently taken to the idea that intellectual stances and embodied experiences are not derivable from one another. Each toolkit is separate, and weird things happen when you try to extend one into the other.
For example, I felt it emotively when reading your comment, that the intellect is extraordinarily good at reducing everything into nothing, because it is a core presupposition that we must view things mechanically, to have mechanical proficiency.
Similarly, to have emotional proficiency, we must make our emotional presuppositions. This is not the obsolete definition of “myth” as stories we make up to make us feel good, because that’s again a framing of a reductionist intellect.
What I’m trying to limn is not anti-intellectualism, but that there is no common framework to contain both of these separate modalities. Don’t let the stomach cannibalize the liver, we need both.
There’s love, and then there’s love love.
> love is entirely rooted in lower cognitive states
you likely already know this, but emergence adds a famous corollary to what “rooted in” means:
> Downward causation can be defined as a converse of the reductionist principle: the behavior of the parts (down) is determined by the behavior of the whole (up), so determination moves downward instead of upward. The difference is that determination is not complete.
It gets into an example that makes this sound less mystical. But applying that here, “love love” abstractly might be the higher signal abstraction for understanding “lower cognitive states”, because the lower stuff emerges higher stuff that constrains its behavior using higher complexity rules.
It starts with the least costly (waiting), then higher cost (text nd $$ sn)... but dolphins don't text.
I sit on the balcony each weekend and see dolphins swimming about every single day. Sometimes they're very close to land.
My theory is, they're around, due to drastically less boat traffic. Either way, they sure seem happy humans aren't around.
Does anyone have the sea world connections to make that happen?
What we do know is that they produce a variety of signals, some very complex and their communication is super fast, which is another obstacle for possible "communication". For example, we cannot generate a burst pulse with our current technology, we can only record theirs and play it back.
But many research groups are trying. We are starting Dolphin Chat citizen science project on Zooniverse in a month or so, to classify and prepare a large dataset of bottlenose dolphins' vocalizations for out deep learning model. You can check it out and even participate, it will definitely help to appreciate how complex their vocal repertoire is (and how "chatty" they are).
The burst pulse is extremely complex, some can have 400 single clicks in one pulse (our ear cannot even hear these single pulses, they merge and for our human ear it sounds like a creaky door), and the pulse duration is like a few seconds. Each click is broadband (can go up to 100 kHz and beyond), it is frequency modulated with varied peak frequencies, center frequencies, RMS, some clicks can have 2 peaks, etc. It is super fast and super complex, we we cannot just generate one, only dolphin's sound producing mechanism can.
It is not active yet, it will be in a month or so. You can also sign up for our newsletter here: cetalingua.com , we will send notification when this project goes live.
He basically found that dolphins language follow the Zipf law and Shannon information theory.
Baby dolphins also have a babbling periode like humans in the same timespan. It is interesting talk all the way through. Maybe you can contact him.
And their budgets require visitors. Worldwide all zoos are in a state of crisis.
Now wondering about these sea mammals too.
Bronx Zoo Tiger Is Sick With the Coronavirus - The New York Times
Zoo May Feed Animals to Animals as Funds Dry Up in Pandemic
so curious reminds me of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propitiation
"Wow, it was that boot that did it, huh?"
Years later we find a crate of boots stashed away in some sea cave labelled "for when the food stops."
Marvellous fruit in the wild too: figs, medlars (I've fed myself almost exclusively with those last days!), thanks to insects and low air pollution
> "Barry McGovern, an expert in dolphin behaviour, said it was possible the dolphins were giving gifts because they missed humans, but unlikely."
For the dolphins in the sea
And sometimes I wonder
Do you ever think of me
"So long and thanks for all the gifts"
Or maybe, here's a link without that:
Also agreed, much better link.
This describes my feelings about not being able to go to work exactly.