The Dolphin in the Mirror: Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives
For centuries, humans and dolphins have enjoyed a special relationship, evident not just in mythology and folklore but in many documented encounters. Diana Reiss is one of the world’s leading experts on dolphin intelligence, and her decades of research and interactions with dolphins have made her a strong advocate for their global protection. In The Dolphin in the Mirror, Reiss combines her science and activism to show just how smart dolphins really are and why we must protect them.
Dolphins are creative and self-aware, with distinct personalities and the ability to communicate with humans. They craft their own toys, use underwater keyboards, and live in complex societies in the seas. And yet some nations continue to slaughter them indiscriminately. This story of Reiss’s encounters and research with dolphins is both a scientific revelation and an emotional eye-opener, revealing one of the greatest intelligences on the planet and exposing our terrible mistreatment of the smartest creatures in the sea.
"Reiss has managed no small feat—synthesizing personal experience, descriptive material, and scientific fact . . . No one reading this book could possibly remain untouched by the beauty and intelligence of these powerful mammals of the sea."—Irene Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me
"Reiss fills the book with such intriguing tales and with the science behind them… Reiss is passionate about her science, but she is passionate about her subjects as well."—The Tampa Bay Times
heavy winch equipment used to haul the nets aboard the ship. The California-based Earth Island Institute surreptitiously shot footage of the catches, and I saw it on television. It was gruesome. I spoke out on radio and television to support the efforts of the institute. Ultimately, a tremendous outcry from consumers along with crusading efforts by schoolchildren led to the 1990 decision of three major U.S. canneries to no longer buy tuna caught by encircling dolphins. The U.S. Congress passed
whose ends are solely those of feeding, resting and reproducing, and whose instincts serve no purpose other than the satisfaction of those needs." It is much easier to slaughter animals if you think of them as voracious carnivores rather than gentle, good-natured, and intelligent creatures. In his 1973 book The Cosmic Connection Carl Sagan pondered what our unrestrained slaughter of dolphins and whales told us about ourselves. Noting that there was emerging evidence that dolphins and whales were
point I stopped, Hoss began vocalizing on a note. I answered. He answered—changing as if going through his different combination of sounds. Then he stood on his head—keeping his tail out of the water... Circe just watches." She seemed nervous to me, and she barely ate anything at suppertime. "She fears H I think," I wrote in my log. "We need our own space." I continued to try to build Circe's fragile confidence over the next few days but still wasn't able to do any serious work. "I've found a
about the possibility of detecting intelligent life in the Milky Way, and they included astronomers, physicists, biologists, social scientists, and industry leaders. This group later came to be known as the Order of the Dolphin, in recognition of the common goal of its astrophysicists and biologists: to establish communication with "alien" intelligence. When I arrived on the scene, SETI was located in Mountain View, just thirteen miles southeast of Marine World. Very convenient. The outcome of
Presley spent substantially longer time in this behavior when he was marked than when he was not marked, more than twenty times longer. When he was sham-marked, he would swim over and inspect himself, but with nothing unusual to see, he would swim away much sooner. We had many qualitative observations too that made the same point: these animals knew who they were seeing in the mirror. The dolphins' interest in the marks were never casual. They scrutinized their marks from many different angles,