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Herewith the temporary News Blog.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Dolphins Are 'Non-Human Persons'

Scientists agree on this amazing statement

By Tudor Vieru, Science Editor
5th of January 2010, 09:20 GMT

The scientific community has finally come to a consensus regarding dolphins. Experts believe that the marine animals are the second most intelligent species on the planet after humans. The creatures are so smart and bright, that they should be referred to as non-human persons, they add. Recent research has demonstrated that their brains are similar to our own in many key features that denote high intelligence. Other tests have also shown that dolphins can learn basic language, and also that they are a lot smarter than chimpanzees. The primates have been considered for a long time the second most intelligent species, but the new work disproves that, Times Online reports.

“Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size. The neuroanatomy suggests psychological continuity between humans and dolphins and has profound implications for the ethics of human-dolphin interactions,” zoologist Lori Marino, from the Atlanta, Georgia-based Emory University, explains. The expert scanned the brains of many dolphins using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and also conducted a number of comparative tests between the brains of the marine animals and those of primates.

Previous investigations in dolphins' routines showed that each of the animals had a unique personality that was shaped by the society it lived in, exactly as was the case with humans. They also communicate with each other via a complex language, even if not articulated. They have the ability to recognize themselves in the mirror, which makes them one of a handful of species capable of doing this. Some specialists say that a fully developed dolphin can reach the level of intelligence of a three-year-old human being, which is no small feat.

The animals also have the ability to teach each other various tricks. For example, a formerly captive dolphin that was taught to tail-walk in an aquarium, was seen teaching others to do the same thing, after it was released. Needless to say, the researchers were amazed to see this happening right before their eyes. The feat denotes a high degree of intelligence, trust and cooperation on the animals' part, which is very rare to come by in species other than humans. “The scientific research […] suggests that dolphins are ‘non-human persons’ who qualify for moral standing as individuals,” Loyola Marymount University Ethics Professor Thomas White says.


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