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.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

2 thoughts on “Dolphin, Doberman, and Intentionality

  • 2011/02/26 at 9:07 am

    Or perhaps a combination of the two?

  • 2011/03/04 at 5:15 am

    At least I do recognize that there’s an alternative hypothesis to the warm fuzzy one. My boss from way back would respond to reports of dolphins rescuing swimmers in trouble with, “Well, you wouldn’t expect to hear from the ones they drag further out to sea.” Which, by the way, isn’t entirely true, some people have been able to report after that experience.

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