Humans and Dolphins

The bonds that can be formed between dolphins and humans are very fascinating. They can occur both in the wild and in captivity. In the wild, some dolphins have been seen rounding up schools of fish to indicate to the fishermen where to place their nets. There are also amazing stories of dolphins coming to the rescue of divers or boaters that have experienced troubles.

In captivity, a great deal of interaction can occur between dolphins and humans. Some of it is for learning about the behaviors and the intelligence of the dolphins. The interaction can be for training them to do tricks and to perform at various events. There are also interactions that take place as a form of physical and emotional therapy for the dolphins.

On the other side of the therapy, the dolphins are assisting with the healing. This can be for individuals that have disabilities or that have suffered some type of trauma. There have been studies that show the dolphins can be a good solution for reducing mild to moderate forms of depression in some individuals. However, there was no way to prove if the results were any better than less expensive programs with animals such as cats, dogs, or horses.

Many people don’t know about the history of dolphins helping humans with various military efforts. This includes locating mines under water and also rescue efforts. Dolphins are mainly trained in this capacity by the United States Navy Mammal Program. A similar program was in place in Russia, but it is believed to have been closed down in the early part of 2000s and the dolphins sold to Iran.

It seems that the human love of dolphins dates back far into ancient times. There are plenty of markings and early art work that depict these animals. They were believed to be a spiritual connection between the gods and humans. There are also some fountains and pottery that have the dolphin as part of the overall design on them.

In the early part of the 1960s, some researchers attempted to determine what the various whistling vocalizations from dolphins were indicators of. The goal was to record them from many dolphins and then to be able to replicate them for use. This was an outcome that never materialized though.

Humans use other means include words, hand signals, and touch to communicate effectively with dolphins. The fact that dolphins make other sounds in addition to whistles makes it hard to really get to the complexities of their communication. Still, many experts feel that if we were to get a solid grasp on that, then we would be able to duplicate that language and communicate with them on a higher level.

Yet as it is evaluated, the use of whistling becomes very personalized with dolphins. After recording large volumes of data, it was thought that each dolphin has individualized whistles and that pods can have a type of language lingo that is different from the next. Such variables make it extremely unlikely that humans would be able to effectively duplicate these sounds to communicate with the dolphins.

In some locations, the dolphin is considered to be a delicacy and people will consume the meat. The two most common locations where humans eat them are Peru and Japan. However, it is believed only a small population of people actually eat it on a regular basis. Many people have tried it though out of curiosity. The meat is dense and it can look more black in color than red. The meat is often consumed raw in strips. It can be consumed alone or with onion and horseradish. Sometimes, dolphin meat is cooked and served with vegetables. Many say when it is cooked, it tastes very similar to liver.

Even though there is usually nothing but harmony when dolphins and humans interact, that isn’t always the outcome. Dolphins can be aggressive when they need to if they feel that they or other members of their pod are in danger. They can also be aggressive if they are stressed. One incident that has been sensationalized due to the rarity of it was an attack in 2010 at SeaWorld by a dolphin called Tilikum. He killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau. What was also addressed is that for this dolphin, it was the 3rd fatal incident he was involved with.

The largest of all dolphin species is the Orca, and they have been involved with more fatal attacks on humans than any other. In 1994, a man in Brazil was killed when he was attacked by a Bottlenose Dolphin. It is believed that this dolphin had been continually harassed by various people but it isn’t known if there was such an occurrence at the time of this attack.

It is noted that dolphins attack far less than other forms of aquatic life. Many experts though do caution people to be aware of what dolphins can do both in the wild and in captivity. The laid back approach that people have about them could cause them to be too careless when they are around the animals.

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