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Paul S. Sidle (1997) “The Seven Characteristics Of Sentience”. Part III.

Evidence for creativity (2).

Many species of Cetacean bow-ride, amongst these include Bottle-nose dolphins. Watson (1981) reports from A.A. Fejer along with R.H. Backus (1960), concerning the observation of Bottle-nose dolphins bow-riding with Great Right whales (Balaaena Glacialis).  Further Fejer with Backus interprets bow-riding as involving:

          "Bowriders choose the point where the force due to the pressure field produced by the ship equals the drag on their bodies; they must sense these pressures directly and seek out the spot which provides the maximum advantage".

Yet this experience appears gained apparently for one purpose, fun.

       Ken Marten, Karim Shariff, Suchi Psarakos with Don J. White (1996), elaborate upon a Bottle-nose dolphin ring-culture.  These observations got made over five years at Sea Life Park Hawaii, upon dolphins aged from 1.5-30 years, who have become involved in creating ring-helices of air as a part of play. Dolphins represent air breathing mammals blowing bubbles whenever they exhale underwater, further during excitement, surprise, curiosity, along with emitting sounds; such that when detectable by other dolphins these may involve another component in communication.  However Marten relates that the process of making air-filled rings though simple, stable ones cannot be made without some experience, allowing for factors such as the viscosity of the water, how the air can become ejected from the blow-hole, etc.  As a result Marten asserts that ring-blowing, though may become made co-incidentally during communication, nevertheless has another function.

        A 'ring-culture' not uncommon, since Ken Marten, Karim Shariff, Suchi Psarakos with Don J. White (1996), further relate that Diana Reiss with Jan Ostman-Lind at Marine World Africa in Vallejo California US, have noticed Bottle-nose dolphins at the aquarium playing with rings similar to the ones observed at Sea Life Park Hawaii.

       Indeed these 'behaviors' are not limited to captive dolphins, for example Herzing (1996) has observed similar displays in free-ranging Atlantic Spotted dolphins.

      Marten goes on to relate upon the innovative methods that the dolphins have come up with to form ring-helices of air.
          "From what we have seen, the dolphins employ three basic techniques to form the rings. In the simplest method (also used by human divers), dolphins puff out bubbles from their blow holes; these bubbles become halos of air that expand in radius while decreasing in thickness as they rise to the surface. One of the dolphins we watched, the adult male Kaiko'o could emit two rings in succession and then fuse them into a single, large ring.
       The physics behind this type of ring is relatively straight-forward: any spherical bubble bigger than about two centimeters in diameter will quickly become a ring because of the difference in water pressure above and below the bubble. Water pressure increases with depth, so the bottom of the bubble experiences a higher pressure than the top does. The pressure from below overcomes the surface tension of the sphere, punching a hole in the centre to create a doughnut shape.
       As water rushes through this hole, a vortex forms around the bubble. Any vortex ring travels in the same direction as the flow through its center; in the case of these simple air rings, the vortex flow, in combination with the air's natural buoyancy, propels the bubbles toward the surface.
       ...In a more elaborate approach, the dolphins fabricate rings that travel horizontally and sometimes even downward in the water. For instance, a dolphin might swim forward rapidly on its side so that its normally horizontal flukes (that is, its tail fin) are vertical. By thrusting its flukes vigorously to one side, the animal generates an invisible, ring-shaped vortex that travels horizontally and slightly downward. After quickly turning around, the dolphin finds the vortex and injects a bubble into it from the blowhole. (The dolphin often produces an audible series of clicks before the release of air, suggesting that sonar may be employed to locate the invisible vortex). The pressure inside a vortex is lowest in the center, or 'eye', of the swirl; when the dolphin, exhales into the vortex, the air migrates to the region of lowest pressure and is drawn out along the core of the ring-shaped vortex. (Refer to Figure 36). 


                    Figure 35.
Bottle-nose Dolphins often blow bubbles related to emitted sounds in social communication.

                    Figure 36.
       Laka's method of creating ring-helices.
(a). Laka creates a vortex with her tail;
(b). Laka then quickly turns around to inject air into the
     swirling flow;
(c). the air gets drawn, flowing through the vortex's core.

Ken Marten, Karim Shariff, Suchi Psarakos, Don White (1996)
"Ring Bubbles Of Dolphins", Scientific American, August. 

       The resulting ring can be up to 60 centimeters (two feet) across and just over a centimeters thick, travelling horizontally in the water. Once again, the movement of the ring reflects the direction of the flow through its center; in the case of the vortex created by the dolphin tail fin, this flow is horizontal and sometimes even downward. With a sideways toss of its rostrum, or jaws, the dolphin can pull a small ring off the larger one and steer it through the water.
       Making a vortex with flukes and planting a bubble in it can be done in a variety of ways - the adult female Laka often positions herself vertically in the water with her head pointed down and tail up. Laka then flips her tail fin down to stir up a vortex. She fills the vortices not only with air from her blowhole but also with air from her mouth. Occasionally, Laka will capture air from above the water with a downward thrust of her flukes. In addition, we have watched Laka release from her mouth small bubbles that pass along her body; when the bubbles reach her flukes, she flips them into a ring. And she can even augment a ring by injecting more air into it.
       The third type of air-filled vortex dramatically reveals the dolphin's capacity for experimentation. On a few occasions, we watched the young female dolphin Tinkerbell, Laka's daughter, construct long helices of air, using the most complicated technique we have seen. These more complex structures no doubt result from considerable refinement through trial and error. Tinkerbell has developed two very different methods for making helices. In one approach, she releases a group of small bubbles while swimming in a curved path near the wall of the tank. She then turns quickly, and as the dorsal fin on her back brushes past the bubbles, the vortex formed by the fin brings the bubbles together and coils them into a helix three to five meters (10 to 15 feet) long. We have also seen Tinkerbell swim across the tank in a slightly curved path, leaving behind an invisible dorsal fin vortex. She then retraces the path and injects a stream of air into the vortex, producing a long helix that shoots out in front of her. (Refer to Figure 37-8).
                        Figure 37. 
                  Tinkerbell's solution. 


                        Figure 38. 
    Tinkerbell's "Cork-screws of Air" method (of several):
   (a). Tinkerbell emits a burst of air bubbles while
        producing a vortex off the dorsal fin:
   (b). When the bubbles encounter the vortex
   (c). they become drawn into it, then merge, elongate into
        a helix of air. 

     Ken Marten, Karim Shariff, Suchi Psarakos, Don White  
    (1996)"Ring Bubbles Of Dolphins", Scientific American,

                        Figure 39-46. 
                 Tursiops Truncatus at play.

       Again, because the pressure in a vortex is lowest in the eye, once the bubbles are inside the vortex, they move toward the center, merge and elongate into a helical tube. Usually a tube of air in water is unstable and breaks up into smaller bubbles. But all the dolphins' rings and helices are shiny and smooth because the variation of pressure inside the vortex (low pressure at the center, building up to higher pressure at the edges) actually works to stabilize the tube by smoothing the ripples that would otherwise break up the large bubble".
       Marten appears in error proposing that these ring-helices involve the dolphins in 'trial and error' alone, since insights can explain the increasing complex methods developed first by Laka then Tinkerbell.
Evidence of Time-Binding (6).
  (a). Evidence for insights.
       Bryde with Harrison (1988) report that Bottle-nose
       dolphins can undo some knots that fishermen tie in
       the ends of trawlers nets. Yet even if the dolphins
       only manage this by randomly pulling at the net's
       drawstring, nevertheless this still demonstrates via
       insight(s) that they comprehend how a net appears
       held together. Further insights appear in the
       evidence for tool-use (as previously discussed), for
       example the use of a bow-wave on to a beach 
       otherwise mud-curtains, shock-waves, etc., to catch
       mullet; along with the use of sponges as protection.
       Since these strategies cannot be entirely due to
       accidental discoveries by Bottle-nose dolphins.
               Further the evidence for creativity
       demonstrates insights through the innovative ways of
       creating ring-helices of air.
  (b). Evidence for the transmitting of insights to future
       Ken Marten, Karim Shariff, Suchi Psarakos, with Don
       J. White (1996) as mentioned in the evidence for
       creativity, have reported that Bottle-nose dolphins
       can generate ring-helices of air in a number of
       innovative ways. However, further observation
       demonstrated that dolphins who did not know how to
       blow ring-bubbles, learned the technique by
       observing the activity of dolphins who could. As
       Marten with colleagues relate:  
                   "...dolphins here appear to have created
       a 'ring culture' in which novice dolphins learn to
       make rings in the presence of experts that, in a
       sense pass down the tradition.
               ...the practice of making rings spread
       through the population of dolphins, as some of the
       individuals learned the technique in the presence of
       their ring-blowing companions. We had the
       opportunity to watch one young dolphin's rings
       evolve over a period of two months from unstable,
       sloppy bubbles that dissipated rapidly to stable,
       shimmering rings that lingered in the water for
       several seconds. Older dolphins also needed time to
       acquire the talent. One adult male, Keola, lived in
       the research tank for two years with dolphins that
       did not produce air rings, and during that time we
       did not see him generate any. But when his younger,
       ring-blowing sibling Kaiko'o moved into the same
       tank, Keola watched for long stretches while Kaiko'o
       blew rings; within a couple of months, Keola began
       making his own rings, which slowly progressed in
              We have noticed that other dolphins also
       monitor their ring-blowing tank mates intently,
       suggesting that the exhibition interests the animals
       or offers a learning opportunity for them. On
       several occasions we saw the two brothers Keola and
       Kaiko'o lying side by side on the bottom of the
       tank, repeatedly blowing large doughnut rings either
       simultaneously or within a second of each other. We
       have also seen one female, swimming closely behind
       another female who was blowing rings, produce her
       own bursts of small bubbles as she watched".
              As for the further improvement(s) upon the
       transmitted insight, refer to Tinkerbell's method of
       ring-helices creation (which differs from her
       mother's, Laka), under evidence for creativity.
              Some scientists define "intelligence as an
       animals ability to go beyond it's natural behavior".
       If so, then Bottle-nose dolphins demonstrate such a
       versatility in 'behavior'. As previously discussed,
       using bow-waves then beaching, otherwise creating
       mud-curtains else shock-waves to catch mullet, along
       the coast of Florida. However, perhaps the ultimate
       example of time-binding along with a flexible
       versatility got reported by David Attenborough
       (2005) in the documentary, "Wildlife On One:
       Dolphins Deep Thinkers?": where in the estuary of
       Laguna, on the coast of Brazil, Bottle-nose dolphins
       co-operate with fishermen in herding fish. The
       Bottle-nose dolphins herd the fish towards the
       shore, where the fishermen wait to cast their nets;
       which they do upon the signal of a rolling dive by
       one of the dolphins. The benefit, the fishermen get
       net-loads of fish, while the dolphins get the
       confused stragglers. Interestingly though no-one
       knows how long this has gone on for, this
       sophisticated operation has passed down through the
       generations of both humans, along with dolphins.
       Further initiated, controlled, etc., by the
Evidence for Consciousness of Abstracting (5).
Creatures become acknowledged as a 'super-intelligent' species if they can pass a simple self-awareness test, during which an organism must recognize itself in a mirror. Humans, Chimpanzees along with Orang-utans can do so, but monkeys cannot. The tests involve putting a dab of paint on the face. Chimpanzees for example will upon seeing the paint 'touch' it, but monkeys simply look behind the mirror for the 'other' monkey. However Bright (2001) reports that the results with dolphins have appeared inconclusive: 'vision' is not the dolphin's primary sense, further it remains difficult to interpret the results of the mark test if an organism has no limbs with which to explore themselves. Even so, in tests dolphins did appear to use the mirror to examine marks placed on their 'bodies'. They further would bring objects to play in front of the mirror, along with showing different 'behavior' infront of their own image than they did when confronted with a stranger. In the documentary "Dolphins With Robin Williams" (1997) for example, when Ken Marten (Project Delphis Earthtrust) organized a two-way reflective sheet over one of the observation ports, Robin Williams observed that the Bottle-nose dolphins came over appearing to check themselves-each-other out.
Evidence for Social-Organizing (3).
John May (1950) noted that Bottle-nose dolphins occasionally co-operate to feed on fish. One will take turns to feed, while the others help to keep the school of fish penned. D.A. Morazov (1970) again noted this with Bottle-nose dolphins in the Black sea.
       Herzing (1996) in the documentary "Wildlife On One: The Dolphin Diaries", confidently described complex social relationships within Atlantic Spotted along with Bottle-nose dolphins, which included an understanding between species. For example, disputes often involved many members, where an escalation can become prevented by an intervention by older members. During which occurred bubble-blowing, jaw clapping, postures, acoustics, etc. Further there involved evidence that social relationships remain context (Latin contextus, to weave: 'meaning' related to circumstance; situation [background], relation of parts, etc) related, involving fin rubbing along with sexual relations between mates, let alone male, female relationships.
       A school uses an intricate variety of communication methods, in order to keep in touch while travelling-foraging, employing signature whistles to recognize each other. Refer to evidence for abstracting (4).
       Further as an example of complex interspecies social-organizing, David Attenborough (2005) in the documentary, "Wildlife On One: Dolphins Deep Thinkers?", reported: in the estuary of Laguna, on the coast of Brazil, that Bottle-nose dolphins co-operate with fishermen in herding fish. The Bottle-nose dolphins both initiating-determining the process. Refer to evidence for Time-binding (6).
Evidence for Self-Sacrificing (7).
Bryde with Harrison (1988) noted that Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) had reported a particular first-hand story told to him about dolphins. In which a school of dolphins followed a fisherman who had caught, further wounded another dolphin, into a harbour called Karia. There they remained until the fisherman let his captive free, only then did the school depart. However as Alpers (1960) points out, these dolphins may not have been Bottle-nose dolphins, but instead Common dolphins (Delphinus Delphis), both found in the Mediterranean sea.
       J.B. Siebenaler with D.K. Caldwell (1956) provide a near tragic example, given by Alpers (1960):
          "On October 30, 1954, a boat was collecting specimens for the Florida aquarium 'The Living Sea', at Watton beach. A stick of dynamite was exploded under water near a school of two dozen Tursiops, and one of them was stunned. It began to race around the vessel with a 45-degree list, but almost at once two other adults came to its aid. They swarm up from below, one either side, and placed their heads under its flippers to keep it afloat. Unable to breathe like that, they had to break away from time to time, and it appeared that another pair then took their place (but the water was rough, and the observers could not be sure it wasn't the first pair back again). The whole school remained nearby until the stunned one recovered - several minutes after the explosion -- and then made off at high speed with great exultant leaps in unison".
       Siebenaler with Caldwell (1956) provide a further convincing example given by Watson (1981):
          "It is not however necessary for the stricken animal to call for help. On one occasion a Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) caught in the wild was being transferred into a holding pen in Florida when it struggled, struck its head on a post and, falling into 2 m of water, sank unconscious to the bottom. Two dolphins already in the pen immediately came to its aid and lifted it to the surface, where it began to breathe. They continued supporting it until it was sufficiently recovered from the injury to swim unassisted".
       The last example again provided by Watson (1981), gets taken from G. Bateson (1974). However as Watson first explains, the example suggests that the featured Bottle-nose dolphin called Sissy appears capable of higher order abstracting, despite clearly demonstrating annoyance.
          "Yet it becomes increasingly difficult, in the face of experiences such as that of George Hunt with a Bottlenose Dolphin called Sissy, to ignore the possibility that some animals, at least know precisely what they are doing".
          "John Lilly wanted to make a film of a dolphin rescuing a human being in the water. So George gets in the water and pretends to be in distress. Sissy comes over and rescues him by pushing him to the side. Lilly is filming this, but when he looks at the camera he finds the cap is still on the lens. So he takes the cap off the lens and sends George back into the water. When George pretends to be in distress again, Sissy beats him up".
       However whether these characteristics of sentience appear incomplete otherwise meaningless, there still remains much compelling evidence apart from brain volume with function, which strongly asserts that Bottle-nose dolphins seem sentient. Further though evidence for other Cetaceans are even more incomplete, it becomes important to ban any slaughter for research, etc., otherwise involving any Cetacean species, until research can falsify that any specific Cetacean species appears sentient. For example as Ken Marten, Karim Shariff, Suchi Psarakos, with Don J. White (1996) state:
          "But as we consider their remarkable abilities, we are haunted by the knowledge that many cultures, including our own, regard dolphins as expendable. Dolphins continue to be targeted by tuna nets, to become ensnared in expansive drift nets and gill nets, to be canned as mock whale meat and to be shot for crab bait or to be hunted for sport".
Whereas Japanese fishermen trap-slaughter schools of dolphins as food for the local market, not understanding that dolphins are not fish but mammals. As Norris (1992) relates:
          "The man-made harbour of Futo is nestled against the black lava cliffs of Japan's mountainous Izu Peninsula, 40 miles southwest of Tokyo.
       ...For decades the dolphin catch was very heavy, and nine villages on the Izu Peninsula had fleets. Now only Futo's is left...Government scientists had said the dolphin population were declining under the impact of the fishermen's take, but the veteran could hardly believe it.
       'How could that be?' he asked. 'We never took more than a few thousand dolphins. Catches 50 times that big don't do anything to the tuna fishing'.
       ...In 1971 they had trapped almost a thousand juvenile striped dolphins in one outing, perhaps killing most of an entire generation of this species in the Kuroshio".
 Jane Goodall (1971) with an inquisitive Chimpanzee looking
      for bananas occasionally hidden under her shirt.
Should we reject the hand of friendship from other creatures upon Earth, instead hunt, destroy their habitats selfishly for our benefits, mindlessly alter the world's climate, stand-by while extinctions inevitably occur, then we should
             justly deserve extinction ourselves.
Category: Essays, papers, etc | Added by: Paul_Sidle (2010-08-13) | Author: Paul S. Sidle E W
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