The UK premiere of “Dolphins: Brains Before Beauty” on the Eden channel explores the reaction to a study by Professor Paul Manger which suggests that dolphins are not as intelligent as once thought.
The brain to body weight ratio puts dolphins just below humans and above primates in the “Encephalisation Quotient”. The audience learns from Professor Manger that most of the weight which bumps dolphins up this scale is potentially just insulation against the cold water in which they live. The insulating brain matter is called glia
Professor Manger does explains that dolphins are readily train-able animals, like most mammals, and that displays of synchronisation and imitation do not necessarily indicate intelligence. There is also some discussiong of the neuron connections in the dolphin’s brain, which are not as complex as those found in primates.
To provide an alternative opinion, the programme interviews Angie Gullan and Anna Breytenbach:
“…Anna is a qualified inter-species communicator from the renowned Assisi institution in Oakland, California. She’s worked with many organisations worldwide to solve a variety of practical animal issues with much success. She is able to connect with animals using intuition and telepathy and understands how they think and what they feel. Her ability and her methods are unexplained by science. But in many cases, so are the amazing results of her work.”
The two women swim with a pod in the waters off Mozambique, courtesy of Angie’s tour programme “Dolphin Encounters” and share their experiences of the therapeutic qualities of dolphin interaction as well as their perception of the animals’ awareness.
Watch for yourself and wade into the waters of debate over the evidence for and against dolphin intelligence.
“Dolphins: Brains Before Beauty” on Eden channel at 20:00 (BST) on 8th June 2011 for UK audiences only.