Dolphins Have Emotions Just Like Us

For decades, we have differentiated ourselves from animals on the basis of our feelings and intelligence. Are we truly different from animals? Can they not feel and grieve like we do? Scientists have removed such doubts from our minds by proving that dolphins are very similar to us.

Recently, footage of an infant dolphin that had suffered a deep wound on its belly and was carried by its mother to the shore was revealed. In the video, the mother kept dropping the infant in the water, but despite this little obstacle, she made her way to the shore. Scientists claimed that her countless attempts, for her child, was her way of putting her child to rest, just like we put our deceased ones to rest in the best possible manner.

Phillipa Brakes, a senior biologist at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, interpreted this in a different manner. She said, “This isn’t the first time I’ve seen footage like this. I think she’s either grieving what she knows to be a dead calf or she’s not completely aware yet that the calf has died and is acting instinctively. Dolphins are air-breathers like us and when calves are newly born one of the first things a mother has to do is to raise the calf to the surface so it can take its first breath. Sometimes she has to do it a few times. It could be this mother is hoping beyond hope that she can encourage her calf to breathe again”.

The proof that dolphins also have emotions does not end here.

They talk to their children

Just like how mothers speak to their children when they are in their womb, research has indicated that dolphins talk to their babies too. They also sing, like some human mothers, so that their babies can recognize their mother’s voice.

They socialize

Dolphins, like us, are social animals. They feel isolated and lonely just like we do when we are alone. They form their own cliques and groups, which we refer to as ‘pods’.

Photo via. Ars Technica

They are our predecessors

Dolphins are technically our ancestors. Frank Joseph, in his book, Our Dolphin Ancestors, talked about us having descended from the same ancestry as dolphins. Biologist Brakes has also said, “And it’s also true that historically, in almost every culture, humans have had amazing and very diverse relationships with wild dolphins. In the Pacific Island region there are people who genuinely believe that dolphins are our ancestors.”  

They can recognize themselves

Dolphins can recognize themselves in the mirror and have a form of self-awareness. This sense of self develops in human beings at the age of two. The fact that dolphins pose shows us how identical we are to these creatures. 

Their brains are different

Photo via. UW360

Dolphins have brains that contain cells with spindle neurons –- neurons only found in human beings or some primates. These neurons are correlated with the level of empathy a person feels and can exhibit. Once again, this indicates that dolphins also have the biology to make them feel the way we do.

They, however, do differ from us. While, we express our emotions through facial expressions, dolphins do so through sounds or actions. Ironically, this difference is why we think that these creatures do not possess emotions, even when they do.