by Ali Garfinkel
Categories: Animals
Tags: .
Photo: Flickr via Loren Sztajer

For years, it’s been known amongst biologists that dolphins can, in fact, understand our human vocabulary and syntax. Unfortunately, it’s also been known that dolphins lack the ability to respond properly. Considering the complexity of human languages, dolphins just aren’t capable of making the sounds to communicate back with us— I mean, do you know how to say “Sarah Palin’s latest political snafu” in dolphin? Neither do I, but I imagine it involves a lot of shrieking.

But biologist Denise Herzing has bridged the language barrier, creating a shared, primitive language that would allow dolphins and humans to communicate with one another.

The way it works:

Now, using the shared language, Herzing and the dolphins can ask each other for specific objects. Herzing also states that this same shared language method may in fact work for communicating with extraterrestrials. If they are able to do that, I hope it’s more complex than a gigantic, spaceship sized game of Simon a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Be Boop!

  • Michael Raymer

    OK, is this the part where I’m not allowed to say that dolphins are smarter than chickens?

    • herwin

      you can say that and in return other people can reply to such a statement, especially if that’s a reason for you to eat one animal (chickens and pigs, who are also not inteligent according to a previousd post of you) and not eat the other animal.
      For me, inteligent or not, thats not what makes me decide what i can and cannot eat, the question is “can the animal feel pain and suffer?”
      Last but not least, chickens in the wild, are very affectionate and caring birds with a high inteligence. Roosters will defend their chicks against intruders. To brush this off as instinct, can be done, but also many of our habits which we think so highly off, are also pure instinct. Even the ability of talking is an instinct.

      • Michael Raymer

        Where do I say anything about eating anything? I am asking if any more evidence is needed that dolphins have a higher order of intelligence than other animals like chickens, cows, crabs, lobsters, canaries, prairie dogs, sea cucumbers (thanx romika), frogs and most other species of animals? And, by extension, why is it so utterly repugnant that we make obvious intellectual distinctions between animal species when these distinctions are already so obvious?

        Weren’t you the one that came after me about ” attacking other peoples’ eating habits”? You seem to be constantly ready to throw down about mine, even though I have repeatedly asked you not to.

        “To brush this off as instinct, can be done,”

        No, that’s what IS done because that is what it is. YOU don’t even bother trying to call it something else. Why? Because it isn’t something else…It’s instinct. And no, herwin, spoken language is not an instinct, it’s an acquired skill.

        And I have no idea what you are talking about with “chickens in the wild”. There is no such thing. There is no such thing. Chickens are a 100% domesticated animal, worldwide. If nothing else, find me one state or region on this planet that has a “wild chicken” hunting season. There are no “wild chickens”. And that, right there, should be all the demonstration that you need about their lack of intelligence.