Thursday, January 31, 2008

So long, thanks for all the fish!


Dolphin Play Bubble Rings - Click here for more blooper videos
This video makes me tear up while I smile in awe. So beautiful and amazing.

And on the topic of the brilliance of dolphins, this article talks about a very smart dolphin. You can read the whole article here if interested, but I will cut out the part that I found brilliant and very funny.

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Dolphin researcher Pieter Arend Folkens tells this story: "Since trash can be dangerous to dolphins if ingested, some of the animals at Marine World Africa USA were trained to retrieve the trash and return it to the trainer for a reinforcement reward.

"A trainer would come out onto the floating stage and a dolphin would perform a tail stand with a piece of trash in its mouth. The trainer would then reward the dolphin with a bit of fish.

"One day the lead trainer went through the routine only to notice that the dolphin kept coming back with a piece of trash even though the tank appeared clean. The trainer asked a colleague to go below to the engineer's port to observe what the dolphin was doing when a trainer came out on the float. The trainer came out on the float and sure enough, the dolphin quickly showed up with a piece of trash and got his reward.

"The scam was revealed! This dolphin had established a savings account of sorts. He collected all the trash and stuffed it in a bag wedged in a corner of the tank near the intake of the filtering system. In there was paper, rope, and all sorts of trash. The amazing thing is that when he went to the bank he did not simply take a piece, rather he would tear a bit off to maximize the return.

"This behavior is particularly interesting because it shows that the dolphin had a sense of the future and delayed gratification. He had enough presence to realize that a big piece of trash got the same reward as a small piece, so why not deliver only small pieces to keep the extra food coming? He in effect had trained the humans."
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2 comments:

flora said...

Wow... that's just beautiful! How did they do that... amazing!
And what a cute story. They are so smart! :)

sheree said...

what an amazing story! i'm going to have to pass this on! it's a shame people still kill dolphins --- we should be caring for the animals of this world as they give us so much in return! :)

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