Petlife logo

Killed 3 people in 33 years, the smile of a dolphin?

In fact, it is "the cruelest scam"

By Flagler DanzigPublished 6 months ago 7 min read
Killed 3 people in 33 years, the smile of a dolphin?
Photo by Pagie Page on Unsplash

The smile of dolphins

Dolphins are perhaps the most quirky animals in the ocean, their graceful bodies swimming in the water and jumping out of the water like a curved moon.

The image of dolphins actually plays a lot of roles in human culture, for example, in Greek mythology, dolphins are always regarded as the helpers of human beings.

Even today, dolphins are considered to be the spirits of the sea and the rescuers of drowning people. Perhaps they save those who fall into the sea simply out of curiosity and love of fun.

But the dolphins can have such a high popularity today probably because of the emergence of dolphinariums. After the rise of dolphins in the 1960s, aquariums were gradually established all over the world, and there were even special dolphinariums for the public to visit and enjoy.

The emergence of dolphinariums made dolphins famous

These small cetaceans are usually kept in various theme parks, such as the most common broad-snouted dolphin.

Of all the dolphins in captivity, the broad-snouted dolphin is perhaps the most affectionate.

This is because they are more easily trained, generally live longer, and they can have a friendlier appearance.

The most common broad-snouted dolphin

One of the most conspicuous features of the wide-nosed dolphin is its charming smile, like the Renaissance Mona Lisa, and whether adults or children, these cute little guys are very relaxing in the aquarium.

The affinity of dolphins is also demonstrated by their extremely friendly attitude towards people, which is nowadays mostly believed to be related to their intelligence, as they are one of the few species of mammals that are capable of self-recognition.

The intelligence of dolphins is said to be comparable to that of human children, which makes it easy to explain why they are not only not afraid of humans, but also show a great deal of curiosity.

A dolphin with its mouth closed appears to be smiling

But even a gentle animal like a dolphin can pose a threat to people. As a small toothed whale, the dolphin's teeth also have a certain lethality to humans.

Although fatal attacks by dolphins on humans are extremely rare, in the past 33 years, three people have died because of dolphin anger.

According to reports, there was a dolphin attack in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1994.

A local man was violently hit by a dolphin during his interaction with the dolphin and eventually died.

Or maybe the orca under the dolphin family, there was an orca attack in the Icelandic Oceanarium in 1983.

At that time, the staff of the oceanarium accidentally fell into the pool of the orca Tilikum, generally speaking, orcas do not attack humans.

A memorial to Tilikum the orca

However, the orca was like an enemy that it hadn't seen in years and eventually dragged the keeper underwater and drowned him alive.

Initially it was thought that the keeper's drowning was an accident, but in 2010 another similar incident occurred, and it was even more vicious.

Tilikum not only dragged the keeper into the water, but also tore him apart.

But dolphin performance can bring a lot of revenue to the aquarium, and it takes a lot of time to train an animal in the dolphin family, and for this reason the orca has survived.

Tilikum used to bring joy to people

Dolphin's pain

Tilikum is perhaps the most well-known animal star in the dolphin family, and despite facing many feeding problems, the staff kept him working.

Eventually in 2017, Tilikum died of a bacterial infection.

It is inevitably no coincidence that dolphins are behind injuries; it took many studies and analyses for zoologists to realize that they should be free to live in the sea, not in a dungeon-like aquarium.

Dolphins' smiles are often used as a major attraction in various aquariums, and after they perform various acrobatics, they always smile happily for the camera, which is in fact an illusion.

The dolphins' smile comes entirely from their physiological structure, because they themselves look like this.

And the high level of interaction they show with humans is also an unnatural behavior, rather than being friendly to humans, it is wishful thinking.

Dolphins are actually very intelligent social mammals, and their intellectual performance comes from the fusiform neurons in their brains, which are only found in primitive humans.

In the human body structure, fusiform neurons are involved in social behavior, emotion, judgment, and theory of mind.

Scientists studying cetaceans have found that their fusiform neurons have similar areas of presence to those in the human brain.

This is how the mouth of the wide-nosed dolphin is supposed to be structured

In the study of animal brains, long-term analyses have shown that the size of the mammalian brain occupies a large proportion of the body weight.

Aside from humans, killer whales have the second largest brain mass on Earth, far higher than any other animal and second only to sperm whales.

As mentioned earlier, some scientists consider self-awareness to be a sign of having a highly developed abstract mind.

Dolphins are one of the few animals that can pass the mirror test

Although this concept is not clearly defined in the scientific community, it is a typical theory of human self-awareness.

Many studies have shown that cetaceans are one of the few animals that can pass the mirror test.

The claim that dolphins save humans also comes from their social structure, as a highly gregarious animal, dolphins typically live in groups formed by a dozen or more dolphins.

Although group size and structure varies by location and species, in places where food is abundant, two groups can merge and grow into larger groups, for example, groups of more than 1,000 dolphins have been found in some areas.

Since the material resources in a dolphin group are not fixed, some members will have access to more food, while others may be unable to feed due to injury or illness.

At this point, as long as they are in need, healthy dolphins will bring help to the disadvantaged, such as bringing to the surface a companion who is too sick to finish breathing effectively.

Dolphins look out for each other

This altruistic display is not limited to the dolphins themselves, so a person who unfortunately drowns at sea may attract the attention of dolphins and be helped by their altruistic social nature.

They will even chase away sharks around swimmers as a way to keep divers safe.

Dolphins are eager ocean "fishermen"

However, dolphins in the wild are still somewhat threatening, and although they do not show aggression toward people, in some cases they may cause manslaughter out of fun.

Zoologists are currently unable to provide a valid explanation for this behavior, and the only reasonable speculation is that it is caused by the dolphins' exuberant desire to mate, as well as competition for food resources.

Behind the smile

But back at the aquarium, everything changes. The dolphins' personalities change drastically, and behind all this is the harm brought by humans.

Anyone who has seen the film "The Cove" should know that cetaceans suffer from human persecution today.

Extremely enlightening film, The Cove

This phenomenon is particularly serious in Japan, and this film calls for their protection and advocates for changes in Japanese fishing practices.

There is also a public awareness campaign addressing the risk of mercury poisoning from consuming dolphin meat.

Earlier, we took a closer look at the dolphins' demonstrated ability to be kept in captivity, which can seriously affect their mental health.

Imagine being confined to a room all day, where all that is left is to eat and sleep, and then endlessly perform and throw themselves at them.

The psychological damage caused by forced training to dolphins is almost irreversible, and the aquarium environment is no match for the natural ocean.

Lacking a wide space to swim, dolphins at rest often exhibit mechanical repetitive behaviors, such as repeatedly swimming in a space and repeatedly hitting walls or glass.

Dolphin trainers can help ease their pain

Also as a group living creature, being out of the group can make them more isolated, which can lead to the degradation of their physical and mental health.

Dolphin attacks are the result of this pathological feeding environment, and in fact there are a number of aquarium dolphins around the world with mental health problems.

American dolphin expert and behavioral neuroscientist Lori Marino said that when dolphins become aware of themselves as individuals, it makes them feel abandoned and can attempt suicidal behavior.

In addition this low mental state affects their immune system, which in turn makes them more susceptible to the risk of infection.

Behind the smile is endless pain

It is worth mentioning that the natural environment in which dolphins live is the ocean, and artificial environments are usually disinfected with chlorinated agents in order to sterilize them.

This chemically toxic substance will irritate their eyes and skin, and some dolphins may even have skin peeling due to long-term exposure to the chlorine agent, and excessive levels of chlorine make them unable to open their eyes.

In the aquarium, the dolphins smile and try to bring joy to people, but no one knows what they actually went through.

In the end, they choose to die, or return the anger to humans, dolphins smile is perhaps the world's most cruel deception.

vintagewild animals

About the Creator

Flagler Danzig

The talent is 1% inspiration adds on 99% sweat, certainly, does not have that 1% inspiration, in the world all sweat to put or bring together also only is the sweat!

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.