Whale and Dolphin Intelligence

We all know about whale and dolphin intelligence.

And even though we haven't really learned how to properly measure intelligence in humans, let alone in whales or other animals, whales and dolphins do have large brains, even compared to their large bodies, and while whales have been more difficult to study, we all know about dolphin intelligence and what captive dolphins can learn.

Whale Intelligence

Humpback Whale with Calf
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Whales have been more difficult to study than dolphins because there are  many dolphins living in captivity, while whales are wild animals, too large for us to train in captivity. And, it is hard to compare the IQ of such different creatures like humans and whales. It's easier for us to measure the IQ of higher primates, because we can relate to them, but whales are too different animals to ourselves, so it is really hard for us to measure how smart they really are. They do have large brains, but then again, their bodies are large too. That said, it's clear that whales are a very high form of animals, which evolved right before primates (and humans). And the whale songs which are almost like phrases in a language, clearly indicate that they cannot possibly be too stupid animals. The problem is it's hard for us to understand their capacities.

Dolphin Intelligence

A Bottlenose Dolphin Approaches a Soccer Ball
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Dolphins, which are also whales, prove further that the closely related large baleen whales cannot be totally dumb creatures. Dolphins have shown an amazing ability to learn. They recognise themselves in a mirror, understand concepts like "more" and "less", and they have been able to learn human sign language, at least easy sentences like "touch this ball with your tail then jump over it". At the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, dolphins have been trained to clean their cages so every time they bring some rubbish to their keepers they get fish. One dolphin learned to hide a piece of trash under a rock in the bottom of the cage, and bring one small piece at the time to the keepers to get more fish ;-)

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