Are Dolphins Really Smart?: The mammal behind the myth


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Are Dolphins Really Smart?: The mammal behind the myth Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Oxford University Press
string(3) "310"
Pages: 310 Language: English ISBN: 9780199660452 Categories: , , , ,

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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[S]erves as both a rigorous litmus test of animal intelligence and a check on human exceptionalism * Bob Grant, The Scientist * [T]horough and engaging [Gregg's] writing skills are solid and his observations are often fascinating. * Booklist * Are Dolphins Really Smart? makes an important contribution to discussions of animal intelligence. Justin Gregg examines the 'myth of the intelligent dolphin' and gives us a rational, scientific view of what dolphins are really capable of doing. He writes in a very readable and convincing way about the various claims that have been made and leaves us with a realistic, if not entirely flattering, picture of dolphin life and behaviour. * Marian Stamp Dawkins, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford * Highly recommended. * J. A. Mather, Choice, *

Author Biography

Justin Gregg is a research associate with the Dolphin Communication Project, and Co-Editor of the academic journal Aquatic Mammals. He received his doctorate from Trinity College Dublin in 2008, having studied social cognition and the echolocation behavior of wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. With an undergraduate background in linguistics, Justin is particularly interested in the study of dolphin communication as it pertains to comparisons of human (natural) language and animal communication systems.