Patt Morrison for September 20, 2011

The Dolphin in the Mirror: Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives

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Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

A baby bottle nose dolphin, born last month, swims close to his mother at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on June 7, 2011.

Dolphins are second only to humans in some intellectual features and are believed to be close cognitive cousins of chimpanzees. They can recognize themselves in a mirror and possess self awareness – a trait once thought to be uniquely human. Despite that, dolphins around the globe are often mistreated and even slaughtered. One pioneer of dolphin research has joined a crusade to save them from being butchered by Japanese fisherman. Patt talks with Diana Reiss, known in some circles as the “Dolphin Whisperer,” about her thirty plus years working with these creatures, including her work as an adviser on the Oscar-winning film, The Cove.


Diana Reiss, a professor of cognitive psychology at Hunter College who is directing a research program on dolphin cognition at the National Aquarium

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