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July 11 , 2010

Are Dolphins Really Smart?: The mammal behind the myth


How intelligent are dolphins? Is their communication system really as complex as human language? And are they as friendly and peaceful as they are made out to be? The Western world has had an enduring love affair with dolphins since the early 1960s, with fanciful claims of their 'healing powers' and 'super intelligence'. Myths and pseudoscience abound on the subject. Justin Gregg weighs up the claims made about dolphin intelligence and separates scientific fact from fiction. He puts our knowledge about dolphin behaviour and intelligence into perspective, with comparisons to scientific studies of other animals, especially the crow family and great apes. He gives fascinating accounts of the challenges of testing what an animal with flippers and no facial expressions might be animal behaviour, Gregg challenges many of the widespread beliefs about dolphins, while also inspiring the reader with the remarkable abilities common to many of the less glamorized animals around us - such as chickens.

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