For many, the word “dolphin” conjures up images of docile, intelligent creatures that are often considered to be the heroes of the sea, pushing stranded swimmers back to shore and fending off predatory sharks whenever they’re not skipping alongside boats and generally being cute. However researchers from St. Andrew’s University in the United Kingdom have released controversial information that suggests that this is far from the case, resulting in uproar among dolphin conservation groups who argue strongly that dolphins should be protected on account of their high IQs. The news has also shocked many dolphin lovers who regard the creatures as some of the most intelligent and sociable in the world.

The details of these findings probably differ from what many of us imagine dolphins are up to in the sea, so it might be best to brace yourselves before reading any further! According to the same researchers from St. Andrew’s University, it was discovered that bottle nose dolphins move in groups to prey upon weaker, isolated dolphins which they then brutally killed. The reason behind this remains unclear and the attackers didn’t appear to be preying on the weaker dolphin as a replacement for food either. Research also conducted in Australia suggested that male dolphins coerce other male dolphins into mating with them and act in herds to effectively “sexually assault” single female dolphins.

An oceanographer who is adding fuel to the fire by claiming that dolphins are nowhere near as intelligent as many would believe, is Justin Gregg from The Dolphin Communication Project in the US. He suggests that while at first glance, dolphins’ communication faculties appear complex, their intelligence levels aren’t all that different from pigs, bears or chickens.

What do you think? Have these reports changed your views on dolphins? Maybe you find it all a bit difficult to swallow and think that dolphins are much too complex a creature to be put into the simplified categories of “clever” or “not clever”, “docile” or “ferocious”. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure this news won’t stop a lot of people from continuing to love what has become an object of deep affection all over the world.

Source: Livedoor News
Image: Wikipedia