Monday, January 11, 2010

Are Dolphins "Non-human Persons"?

Second-generation wolphin female "Kawili ...Image via Wikipedia


 by jennifer palmer

Scientists have declared that dolphins are the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans.  They have far bigger brains and are brighter than chimpanzees and their communications are similar to those of humans, so much so that it has been suggested that they be re-categorized as "non-human persons".  The implications of this would make it unethical to keep dolphins captive in zoos and amusement parks, where 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die each year.

Studies show how dolphins have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self, emotional sophistication and complex social structuresBottlenose dolphins can recognise themselves in a mirror and use it to inspect various parts of their bodies, an ability that had been thought limited to humans and great apes.
It's also been documented that dolphins are “cultural” animals, meaning that new types of behaviour can be quickly transferred from one dolphin to another.  Scientists have been astonished to see tricks taught to sick dolphins who spent time in captivity spreading among wild dolphins after the former patient was released back into the sea.

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