A Higher Intelligence

Bottlenose dolphin at San Antonio SeaWorld

Last week was down time. Vacationed in San Antonio with the family. Quite a nice family destination with a little bit of everything thrown in.

At the San Antonio SeaWorld observed a most amazing thing. At the Dolphin Cove, visitors were allowed to interact directly with a set of bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins were within pettable distance and some people were petting them. But the dolphins seemed less interested in ‘affection’ and more in ‘play’. They would stop near you and stick themselves out of the water, like in the photo above or splash water on some people.

The guy next to me decided that he’d like a closer encounter. When a dolphin stood up in the water, much as the dolphin above is doing, he reached and tickled him under the chin (or snout). The dolphin took it for a few seconds and then suddenly feinted a bite with his snout. The man pulled his arm back like lightning. Upon which, the dolphin started tittering. I have no other word to describe what it was doing. Snout open, it was basically having a good laugh!

I consider humour a sign of intelligence. At that moment, that dolphin’s IQ was higher than a few humourless human beings that most of us have the misfortune of knowing.

For more on dolphin intelligence click here and here.


  1. Reminds me of The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy…


  2. harish says:

    should have been a sweet feeling to see him make that prank. your other link with ref to dolphin intelligence detailed interesting pranks. cute thing was a dolphin doing it. was good to know that some other species was enjoying living with mostly arrogant and disturbing neighbours called homo sapiens.


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