Zev Porat

Friday, August 9, 2013


PPSIMMONS: As you read the article - remember the title says, "LIKE HUMANS." Cool stuff - but in reality not anything "LIKE HUMANS."  I was thinking just the other day about how Dolphins have solved the problems of hunger and developed tractors and farming and the problem of traveling long distances and invented automobiles, etc. Yes...I was talking about this just the other day - I said you know...those Dolphins can solve problems, "just like humans!"

Study: Dolphins Can Problem Solve Like Humans

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

GRASSY KEY, Fla. (AP) — A dog may be man's best friend, but dolphins can imitate human actions, and even how they solve problems.

When a dolphin has one of its senses blocked, it can use other senses to mimic a human's movements, according to a recent study.

A bottlenose dolphin named Tanner was blindfolded and instructed to mimic the actions of a trainer in the water with him. When Tanner wasn't able to use sight to figure out the movement, he switched to another technique: emit sounds, listen to the echo and interpret the resulting sound waves. This ability — known as echolocation — allowed Tanner to replicate movements by the trainer, such as spinning in the water.

The study, conducted at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, expands on previous studies looking at how dolphins are able to imitate other dolphins while blindfolded. To see if a change in sound would affect their imitation, researchers used humans instead of dolphins to make the movements in the water.

Dr. Kelly Jaakkola, research director of the nonprofit marine mammal center, said researchers were surprised by Tanner's use of echolocation.

"He outsmarted us," Jaakola said.

She explained that dolphins must decide when to use echolocation, "and that's problem-solving."
Janet Mann, a professor of biology and psychology at Georgetown University who was not involved in the study, said the results were not surprising in that they were consistent with how dolphins act in the ocean.
"Of course they would use their echolocation to get more information. Dolphins have to solve problems all the time in the wild," she said, adding that dolphins use echolocation more at night as well.

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