The director of dolphin research at Baltimore's National Aquarium retraces the path by which science has come to understand dolphin intelligence.A committed activist on behalf of dolphin welfare, Reiss provides an account of her personal journey and the history of the development of proofs of the creatures’ high intelligence. The author chronicles the evolution of the field, beginning with John Lilly's groundbreaking work on their language and concluding with a description of her own experimental work that demonstrates that dolphins are creatures endowed with self-awareness. Reiss also discusses her struggle to get these important findings published in scientific literature. In her doctoral thesis, she proposed a series of rigorous experiments that laid the basis for documenting dolphins’ ability to communicate with symbols, recognize their mirror image and even reflect upon their experiences. While involved in her scientific studies, she was also struggling to secure funding and protect the animals she was working with from being sold for commercial exploitation. Reiss movingly conveys her deepening relationship with the dolphins, and she documents how, through each step of the process, and with each new generation, there is a tremendous emotional pull built upon the establishment of communication and empathy between our different species. This has historical antecedents—reflected in classical mythology, as well as in the actual experiences of people rescued at sea by dolphins. Among the author’s purposes in writing this engrossing scientific memoir is to build support to stop the annual massacres of dolphins in Japan and elsewhere.
8-page insert. Author tour to San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.
About the Author
Dr. Diana Reiss is Professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College and in the Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Program of The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She directs the Dolphin Research Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She is also adjunct faculty in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University, and she served as a member of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Her research focuses on dolphin cognition and communication, comparative animal cognition, and the evolution of intelligence. She has authored papers published in numerous international scientific journals and book chapters and her work has been featured in many television science programs. She has authored papers published in numerous international scientific journals and book chapters and her work has been featured in many television science programs.