Cognitive Capability of Sea Mammals

Being an animal lover and inspired by the gifted yet amazing capabilities of Dolphin, I would like to share some instances of their sagacity. History reveals that dolphins can capture the concept of “relative numerosity” . On the cognitive grounds, dolphins are peers to humans and even transcend them at certain instances. Their possession of the cognitive abilities perplexes me.


Research reveals that dolphins when tested for their mathematical insight, experience a stronger shade of reasoning than human. Tests were done by using two black boards kept on either side of a PVC pipe. The boards contained some white dots on them and they were rotated backwards. These boards had some training pairs like one versus three, two versus seven etc.


The dolphins had to tap the lesser numbered board out the two, when the trainer gave a signal “less”. If they hit it right then a whistle was blown and they were fed with fish.

The beauty lied in the fact that, dolphins hit the board correctly if the difference between the pair was quite large. That is, they were able to get it right if the pair was two versus eight and failed to when the pair was two versus three.


Psychologists inferred that dolphins had difficulty perceiving slight differences when compared to larger ones.. If the numbers were present side by side the dolphins could do something similar to counting. Variations in the placement and diameter of the dots were also done. This was basically  to ensure that the dolphins could respond on numerical cues alone.


The conceptual capability would aid these sea herbivores in foraging situations (searching for prey). They would gobble a bigger fish rather than a smaller one .To add on these dolphins would like to have a good number of fish but not a huge number though, and this is where their cognitive capabilities come into play.


Dolphins graded as one among the  most intelligent mammals , have a brain that is sized almost 2.5 bigger than the humans. They get rapt in times of distress and perform outstandingly well in herds. This spawns the major question. Do   the cognitive senses of dolphins help them differentiate cries and whistles? Or narrowing  down , Do dolphins communicate with each other? Check back for details and pls leave your comments


7 comments April 17, 2007

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