Mammals actions make strong case for personhood
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/18/2013 -- Dolphins have been amazing humans with their intelligence for decades now. Since the days of the hit television show Flipper, the watery mammals have shown time and again that they have more than just smiling personalities. A group of Dolphins have recently showed something one step further, empathy and compassion, mixed with critical thinking.
According to Marine Mammal Science, a group of dolphins were viewed trying to prevent an ailing companion from drowning by banding together and propping the ailing individual to the surface with their bodies. It is the first time that this sort of behavior has been documented amongst dolphins. The action is a mixture of critical thinking, empathy, and self-awareness all in one. The three characteristics are the prerequisites for what defines a “person” when defining personhood.
There is a large assortment of videos documenting accounts of dolphins coming to the rescue of humans, and so it should be of little surprise to hear that they also help one another. What is key in the specific instance is that they worked as a group with a shared sense of empathy and effort. In the 1960s, maine biologists first learned and documented dolphins caring behavior. The only so-called 'nuturance behavior' that was seen when mothers attempt to help stillborn to the surface for air.
The specific event was noted by a Korean research group, which noticed a group of dolphins had strayed from a larger pack. Kyum J. Park of the Cetacean Research Institute in Ulsan, Korean observed a female member who was was suffering, with red marks on its stomach and apparent paralysis of its flippers. To prevent it from drowning, the small group took turns to support it from below, nudging it to the surface in the correct position. They continued the effort for 30 minutes before they took more aggressive measures, and formed a raft of their own bodies. Biologists noted that five dolphins worked at a time, lining up horizontally to aid the ailing dolphin, while it rode their backs.
In the end, the rescue attempt was unsuccessful and the afflicted dolphin finally “went vertical”. Several of the dolphins continued to interact with the corpse by rubbing and touching it, as well as blowing bubbles on it. Finally the corpse sank, and the dolphins moved on.
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