Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dolphin, Doberman, and Intentionality

MarcoIslandFlorida reports that a doberman trapped in a canal was rescued because a dolphin made “a lot of noise”, attracting human help.

Just before lunch, police received a 911 call from a South Bahama resident who said she’d rescued a dog from a canal after she’d heard and seen a dolphin making a “lot of noise,” Burnett said.

One could juxtapose two interpretations on the event. In one, the dolphin pitched a fit over the presence of an unwanted interloper in its canal. In the other, the dolphin intended that a human come and assist the dog, and used noise as the means to attract human attention.

I like the second view better. We know from cooperative human/dolphin fishing associations that dolphins can use acrobatic displays and noise to attract humans. It isn’t that much of a stretch to suppose that could be done in this one-off situation. Collaborative fishing, though, does have a payoff for the dolphins which wasn’t a part of the dog rescue.