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[Animals] Is the dolphin the smartest animal on the planet?


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If there is an animal that we can classify as intelligent, that is, without a doubt, the dolphin. Some think that, although it is impossible for us to determine its degree of intelligence, it may be very similar to human.

Dolphins, cetaceans, arose 50 million years ago from terrestrial mammals that gradually adapted to aquatic life. Like us and other mammals, dolphins are warm-blooded animals and breathe air, unlike fish, which absorb oxygen dissolved in the water. And there are things that evolutionary adaptation cannot change.

But what interests us most about dolphins is their brain, which weighs just over a kilo and a half -ours has a mass of 1.36 kg-. Now, if what we want to evaluate is the possible intelligence of an animal, what matters is not the mass or the size of the brain. If so, the whale must be more intelligent than us because its brain is much larger. What really needs to be taken into account is the relationship between the brain and the rest of the body. In us this relationship is of masses is 2% and in the dolphin something higher than 1%, greater than that of the chimpanzee, our first cousin, which is less than 1%. Its cerebral cortex is as complicated as ours, but in our brain the density of neurons is greater.


the language of dolphins
One of the most interesting elements of study is whether dolphins have developed a sufficiently complex language. If so, we can ask ourselves if one day we will be able to find in it something similar to words, a syntax and a grammar. Quite a challenge, considering that dolphins do not speak but whistle, so to speak. Dolphins have an echolocation system very similar to that of bats, with which they obtain information regarding the distance, dimensions and structure of the object on which the sound has been reflected. Even their characteristic jumps can serve them for more than just breathing: with the sound of splashing they signal their presence to the rest of the group.


Therefore, the vision that the dolphin has of the world is absolutely different from ours. The human being obtains his image of the world from sight, from light, while the dolphin does so from hearing, from sound. This means that any attempt to communicate with them would involve transforming their sound world into our visual world, something millions of times more complicated than trying to decipher a dead language. How to convey perceptions such as color? If we reflect a little, most of our language is mediated by our perception and consequent interpretation of the world. Even the so-called non-verbal language such as raising an eyebrow, a half smile or a wink have impressive potential: no one escapes the fact that face-to-face communication is much deeper than the telephone conversation, or that it is more so. that the letter, the electronic mail or the chat.

Trying to understand the language of dolphins – could we name it Dolphin? – can be of great help in the event that one day we receive a message from the stars, from an extraterrestrial civilization. Will we be able to communicate with them? At least, with the dolphins we share a planet, a genetic patrimony and a biological evolution to a certain extent parallel. How can we communicate with aliens with whom we share nothing at all, not the slightest bit of DNA?


Be that as it may, another of the peculiar behaviors of dolphins is their relationship with humans. And among all the examples, what happened in New Zealand in the middle of the last century is most extraordinary.64369978b342c.jpegThe dolphin that conveyed good feelings
In 1955 the inhabitants of the city of Opononi observed that a young dolphin approached the port almost every day and began to follow the boats and swimmers. In particular, the dolphin seemed to have a predilection for a 13-year-old girl, whom he allowed himself to be touched and who, on occasions, he carried on his back. The news spread like wildfire, and by the end of 1955 people from all over the place, no matter how far or near, were thronging the small town, jamming the beach road, and camping on the sand. The dolphin, who had been baptized with the name of Opo, seemed to enjoy his fame and every day he would wander along the very shore. But the most fascinating of all was not the behavior of the dolphin, but the effect it produced on the thousands of tourists who came there. For the first time in history, and contrary to what happened every year, there was not a single case of drunkenness or fight. People who didn't know each other chatted amicably among themselves, exchanging their experiences and concerns.


Link: https://www.muyinteresante.es/ciencia/60111.html

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