Humans have built various legends surrounding the dolphin. These likeable creatures have inspired and enthralled us through the ages and have seemingly secured their place beside us as one of the most intelligent mammals on the planet. But how do we measure this intelligence? And how smart are dolphins really? If intelligence is deﬁned by the ability to reason, plan, solve problems and learn from experience, how does the dolphin weigh up?
Dolphins – Beauty Before Brains, takes us on a scientific journey into the complex world of the dolphin and investigates the controversy surrounding Professor Paul Manger’s recent assertion that dolphins are not quite as smart as we’d previously thought —”dumber than a goldﬁsh” were the words he used. According to his studies, dolphins appear to have brains that lack complexity at neuronal level, which compromises their information-processing abilities. By examining a series of experiments testing the “theory of mind” in dolphins and exploring unique and engaging habits like self-awareness, creative responses and self-entertainment such as wave-riding, this ﬁlm illustrates exactly where dolphin IQ scores on the charts.
We also look at unique behaviour patterns, pod dynamics, communication skills and hunting strategies that play out in mass feeding events such as the Sardine Run on the South African coastline. The dolphins’Sardine Run behaviour is one of the most amazing spectacles of intelligence and cooperation in the natural world. We then travel to Mozambique to meet Angie Gullan, the “Dolphin Whisperer”. She has monitored and interacted with four local pods for the past ten years and facilitates dolphin “swims” that are said to have physiological healing effects on human beings. According to her observations, dolphins rank at the top when it comes to emotional intelligence.
So, is Professor Manger correct in his assessment of dolphins, and how does his study compare with the facts? Could dolphin intelligence, or lack thereof, be something that varies from one individual to the next?
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