Intelligence of Dolphins: Ethical and Policy Implications

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 7B (San Diego Convention Center)
The dolphin brain has a large cerebral cortex and a substantial amount of associational neocortex. Most anatomical ratios that assess cognitive capacity place it second only to the human brain. More important, recent research in marine science has revealed that dolphins have a remarkable degree of cognitive and affective sophistication. For example, dolphins can recognize their image in a mirror as a reflection of themselves -- a finding that indicates self-awareness similar to that seen in higher primates and elephants. These and other studies, which have found that dolphins are also capable of advanced cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, artificial language comprehension, and complex social behavior, indicate that dolphins are far more intellectually and emotionally sophisticated than previously thought. Considerable research indicates that they are significantly different from fish and other marine species, and this research has significance for commercial policy and practice. This symposium will present the scientific findings and explore their ethical and policy implications.
Stephanie J. Bird, Science and Engineering Ethics
Thomas I. White, Loyola Marymount University
and Dena K. Plemmons, University of California
Stephanie J. Bird, Science and Engineering Ethics
Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific
Lori Marino, Emory University
Anatomical Basis of Dolphin Intelligence
Diana Reiss, Hunter College of the City University of New York
Self-Awareness and Dolphins
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