INTERSPCIES COMMUNICATION- Dolphins can wave with their arms even untrained!

I took a quick breath of air and dove gently below the surface of the turquoise, warm water, here in Key West Florida. We were in the middle of the sea, however the sandy bottom was just under two meters below me, shining brightly and comfortingly.
A dolphin had broken off from a small pod of dolphins and was circling around me. It was breathtaking feeling his eye fixed on mine. Awkwardly I tried to stand upright in the water trying something out that Don had experienced with a dolphin the day before.

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The Cetacean Brain and Hominid Perceptions of Cetacean Intelligence

An Essay by Captain Paul Watson
The human species may not be the paragon of animals as Hamlet so eloquently described to us. There is another group of species on this Earth perhaps more deserving of such lofty praise.

It is ironic that science, in its pursuit of knowledge, may soon lead us to understand that we are not what we believe or desire ourselves to be, that we are not the most knowledgeable life-form on the planet. Biological science is provoking us to shatter our image of human superiority. Confronted with new realities, we may be forced to change our perceptions. For the first time in our history, a small group of scientists stands on the threshold of communicating with a non-human intelligence. Probing the oceans instead of deep space, they are searching for an alternative terrestrial intelligence. (ATI)

Astronomers devoted to SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) keep our collective inquisitive ears tuned for signs of sentience from space. At the same time, cetologists observe, document, and decipher evidence that points to a profound intelligence dwelling in the oceans. It is an intelligence that predates our own evolution as intelligent primates by millions of years. Furthermore, it is an intelligence that may prove to be far superior to us in terms of complex associative, linguistic, and survival abilities. Dr. John Ford’s patient monitoring of the speech of orcas off British Columbia has revealed distinctive dialects between orca populations, so distinctive that it is possible to link a captive animal of unknown origin with its long-lost family in the wild. In the cold waters off Patagonia, Dr. Roger Payne thrilled the world with his recordings of the songs of the humpback whale. Behind the aesthetic value of whale music, Payne’s research has revealed fascinating insights into the complex and highly sophisticated language of whales.
In the realm of zoological study, no other family of species has had such a profound impact upon human researchers. A few brilliant researchers have even been accused of losing their scientific objectivity simply because their study of cetaceans revealed knowledge about themselves. “You see,” wrote Dr. John Lilly, “what I found after twelve years of work with dolphins is that the limits are not in them, the limits are in us. So I had to go away and find out, who am I? What’s this all about?” Dr. Paul Spong, who came to the study of cetology as a psychologist, found himself transformed into a devout advocate of dolphin freedom. “I came to the realization,” says Spong, “that at the same time I was manipulating their (orca) behavior, they were manipulating my behavior. At the same time I was studying them and performing experiments on them, they were studying me and performing experiments on me.” Both men have taken to heart an advice: eloquently expressed by novelist Edward Abbey that, “it’s not enough to understand the natural world, the point is to defend and preserve it.”

Other scientists have told me that they understand this effect that cetaceans have on people and resist the tendency to become “involved” with their subjects only from fear of ridicule from other scientists. Knowing something is so does not mean that others will accept it or even be open-minded enough to ponder it. Some things are just not on the table for serious scientific debate, and the idea that humans are subordinate in intelligence to another species is one of them.

Ingrained anthropocentric attitudes dismiss the very idea that a dolphin or whale could be as intelligent as a human being, or more. In this respect, science is dogmatic and intransigent, differing little in attitude from the Papal pronouncement that the Earth could not possibly revolve around the sun.

Human imagination can instantly recognize intelligence in a blob of purple protoplasm or an insectoid extraterrestrial if it steps from a space ship dressed in a metallic suit and armed with a fantastic proton-plasmodic, negative-charged, ionic-cell destabilizer-blaster. Dolphins, on the other hand, just eat fish.

We willingly accept the idea of intelligence in a life-form only if the intelligence displayed is on the same evolutionary wavelength as our own. Technology automatically indicates intelligence. An absence of technology translates into an absence of intelligence.

Dolphins and whales do not display intelligence in a fashion recognizable to this conditioned perception of what intelligence is, and thus for the most part, we are blind to a broader definition of what intelligence can be.

Evolution molds our projection of intelligence. Humans evolved as tool-makers, obsessed with danger and group aggression. This makes it very difficult for us to comprehend intelligent non-manipulative beings whose evolutionary history featured ample food supplies and an absence of fear from external dangers.

I have observed whales and dolphins in the wild for fifty years, seeing varied and complex behavior that has displayed a definite pattern of sophisticated social interactions. They have exhibited discriminatory behavior in their dealings with us, treating us not like seals fit for prey but as curious objects to be observed and to be treated with caution. They can see beyond to the manifest technological power that we have harnessed, and they can adjust their behavior accordingly. It is a fact that there has never been a documented attack by a wild orca on a human being. Perhaps they like us. More likely they know what we are.

The interpretation of behavior remains subject to the bias of the observer; one observer can classify behavior as intelligent, and a second observer will dismiss the same behavior as instinctive. There is also the tendency to be anthropomorphic — to attribute human feelings and motives to the behavior of nonhumans. Until we can actually talk with a nonhuman, it is difficult, if not impossible, to do anything but speculate on what is being thought or perceived. We cannot even understand with any certainty what a human being from a different culture, speaking a different language, may be thinking or perceiving. Even among people of our own culture, language, class, or academic standing, it is a formidable task to peer inside the workings of the brain. In this respect all brains other than our own are alien, and I might venture to add that the inner workings of our individual brains are still a mystery to each of us that possess one.

It is a great tragedy for our development as a species that we have been alone among hominids for the last thirty thousand years. Imagine Homo neanderthalensis existing today as a separate intelligent species of hominid primate. Our perception of the nature of intelligence would be profoundly different.

Homo neanderthalensis is an example of a species that possessed both technology and media communication. This tool-maker created haunting images of its experiences and environment. Some Neanderthal tools, artifacts, and cave art from the Chatelperonian period have survived and remind us that we are not the only species capable of material artistic expression. Neanderthal ivory and bone carvings were used for adornment in addition to more practical purposes. Symbols carved on antlers relating to the movement of animals in relationship to the seasons indicate that Neanderthals may have invented “writing,’ and carried a hunting almanac around with them.

I have often heard lectures and read articles on the art of early humans. Yet seldom have I heard it said that it was not Homo sapiens alone but Homo neanderthalensis who also left us that legacy. Another species created something that we believe we alone created.

We perceive reality based on how we preconceive it. In other words, we see what we want to see. Let’s take a close look at the anatomy of the brain. This is an organ that the human organism shares with most species above the invertebrate order. More specifically, we should look at the mammalian brain that is an organ composed of three distinct structures.

The foundation of the mammalian brain is the paleocortex, sometimes called the “reptilian” or “ancient” brain. The paleocortex segment reflects the primordial fish-amphibian-reptile structure. This basal combination of nerves is called the rhinic lobe (from the Greek rhinos, for nose) because it was once believed to be the area that dealt with the sense of smell. The poorly developed rhinic lobe is overlaid by the slightly more advanced limbic lobe (from the Latin limbus, for border). On top of this lobe is overlaid the third and much larger segment called the supralimbic lobe.
Draped over these three lobes is a cellular covering called the neocortex, meaning “new brain.” This is the instantly recognizable, fissured, convoluted layer that envelops the other two more primitive segments. The neocortex is a bewilderingly complex community of intertwined axonal and dendritic nerve cells, synapses, and fibers.

The mammalian brain is a complex layering or lamination of evolutionary processes that reflects hundreds of millions of years of progressive development. The billions of electrochemical interactions within this complex organ define consciousness, awareness, emotion, vision, recognition, sound, touch, smell, personality, intuition, instinct, and intelligence.

The first factor in determining the mammalian stages of development is the number of brain laminations. The layering of the neocortex differs greatly between humans and other land animals. The expansion of the neocortex is always forward. This means that neocortex development can be used as a fairly accurate indicator of the evolutionary process of intelligence. We cannot assume, however, that the determining factor in comparative intelligence is neocortex mass. The other factors considered in the equation are differentiation, neural connectivity and complexity, sectional specialization, and internal structure. All these factors contribute toward interspecial measurements of intelligence.

Interspecies comparisons focus on the extent of lamination, the total cortical area, and the number and depth of neocortex convolutions. In addition, primary sensory processing relative to problem solving is a significant indicator; this can be described as associative ability. The association or connecting of ideas is a measurable skill: a rat’s associative skill is measured at nine to one. This means that 90 percent of the brain is devoted to primary sensory projection, leaving only 10 percent for associative skills. A cat is one to one, meaning that half the brain is available for associative ability. A chimpanzee is one to three, and a human being is one to nine. We humans need only utilize 10 percent of our brains to operate our sensory organs. Thus the associative abilities of a cat are measurably greater than a rat but less than a chimp, and humans are the highest of all.

Not exactly. The cetacean brain averages one to twenty-five and can range upward to one to forty. The reason for this is that the much larger supralimbic lobe is primarily association cortex. Unlike humans, in cetaceans sensory and motor function control is spread outside the supralimbic, leaving more brain area for associative purposes.

Comparisons of synaptic geometry, dendritic field density, and neural connectivity underscore the humbling revelation that the cetacean brain is superior to the human brain. In addition, the centralization and differentiation of the individual cerebral areas are levels higher than the human brain. Many of us may remember our lessons from Biology 101. We were shown illustrations of the brain of a rat, a cat, a chimp, and a human. We listened as the instructor pointed out the ratio of brain to body size and the increased convolutions on the neocortex of the human over the chimp, the cat, the rat. The simplistic conclusion was an understanding that humans were smarter. Of course, it was a human demonstration of intelligence, and the conclusion was arrived at by discrimination based on the selection of the examples. When the brain model of an orca is inserted into the picture, the conclusion based on the same factors places the human brain in second position.

Unfortunately for the pride of humankind, this simple comparison is elementary compared to a truly astounding fact: whereas the human brain shares three segments with all other mammals, the cetacean brain is uniquely different in its physiology.

Humans have the rhinic, limbic, and supralimbic, with the neocortex covering the surface of the supralimbic. However, with cetaceans we see a radical evolutionary jump with the inclusion of a fourth segment. This is a fourth cortical lobe, giving a four-fold lamination that is morphologically the most significant differentiation between cetaceans and all other cranially evolved mammals, including humans. No other species has ever had four separate cortical lobes.

This well-developed extra lobar formation sandwiched between the limbic and supralimbic lobes is called the paralimbic. Considering neurohistological criteria, the paralimbic lobe is a continuation of the sensory and motor areas found in the supralimbic lobe in humans. According to Dr. Sterling Bunnell, the paralimbic lobe specializes in specific sensory and motor functions. In humans, the projection areas for different senses are widely separated from one another, and the motor area is adjacent to the touch area. For us to make an integrated perception from sight, sound, and touch, impulses must travel by long fiber tracts with a great loss of time and information. The cetacean’s paralimbic system makes possible the very rapid formation of integrated perceptions with a richness of information unimaginable to us.

Despite Biology 101, brain-to-body ratio is not an indication of intelligence. If this were so, the hummingbird would be the world’s most intelligent animal. Brain size in itself, however, is important, and the largest brains ever developed on this planet belong to whales. More important is the quality of the brain tissue. With four lobes, greater, more pronounced neocortex convolutions, and superior size, the brain of the sperm whale at 9,000 cc or the brain of the orca at 6,000 cc are the paragons of brain evolution on the Earth. By contrast, the human brain is 1,300 cc. And by point of interest, the brain of a Neanderthal was an average 1,500 cc.

Apart from our collective ego as a species, the idea of an Earthling species more intelligent than ourselves is difficult to swallow. We measure intelligence in strictly human terms, based on those abilities that we as a species excel at. Thus we view hand-to-eye coordination as a highly intelligent ability. We build things; we make tools and weapons, manufacture vehicles, and construct buildings. We use our brains to focus our eyes to guide our hands to force our environment to conform to our desires or our will. Whales cannot or do not do any of the things we expect intelligent creatures to do. They do not build cars or spaceships, nor can they manage investment portfolios.

Cetaceans do have built-in abilities like sonar that put our electronic sonar devices to shame. Sperm whales have even developed a sonic ray-gun, so to speak, allowing them to stun prey from a head filled with spermaceti oil to amplify and project a sonic blast. However, we expect an intelligent species to arrive in a spaceship armed with laser rayguns, bearing gifts of futuristic technologies. This is a fantasy that we can understand, that we yearn for. For us, technology is intelligence. Intelligence is not a naked creature swimming freely, eating fish, and singing in the sea.

The whale is an organic submarine. A whale may not arrive in a spaceship, but it is itself a living submersible ship. All of its technology is internal and organic. We do not accept this. The human understanding of intelligence is material. The more superior the technology, the more superior the intelligence.

Yet intelligence is relative; it evolves to fulfill the evolutionary needs of a species. All successful species are intelligent in accordance with their ecological position. In this respect, the intelligence of a crocodile or a whale, an elephant or a human is non-comparable. A complex intelligence exists within every sentient creature relevant to its needs. We as humans cannot begin to compare our elaborate intelligence to the complex intelligence of other creatures whose brains or nerves are designed for completely different functions in radically different environments.

Most modern humans believe that we are vastly more intelligent compared to our ancestors of 75,000 years ago or even 10,000 years ago. Our technology is proof, is it not? The fact is that the brain of a person living today is identical in size and composition to that of our kind from tens of thousands of years ago. If you were to set Einstein’s brain beside the brain of a cave-dweller of the Paleolithic era, you would not be able to find a single difference in size or complexity. Our technology is cumulative, the end product of millennia of trial and error. It is also exponential, and we now live in the time of the most rapid exponential growth. Individually, the average cave-dweller of the past could match the average citizen today in associative intelligence and would be as capable of learning. Our intelligence is also cultural, and the vast amount of information that we have at our disposal lies outside of ourselves as individuals. Apart from the community, we are severely limited in understanding or manipulating technologies. Left to our own resources on an undeveloped island, most of us would have absolutely no idea how to survive. We do not even have the knowledge to construct rudimentary stone tools or weapons. In this respect stone age humans would be our intellectual superiors.

If we look at the comparative intelligences of species strictly on a morphological basis, judging all aspects on cortical structural development alone, we can assign an average associative score relative to human intelligence. Let’s assign the average human brain a score equal to 100. This is the number we consider average on human Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests. Based on associative skills as defined by the physiological structure of the comparative brains, we will find that a dog scores about fifteen, and a chimpanzee around thirty-five. These are scores that are comfortably within our understanding of intelligence.

Based upon comparisons of cortical structure alone, a sperm whale would score 2,000.

The truth of the matter is that we know absolutely nothing about what goes on in the brain of a whale or a dolphin. In our ignorance, we resort to the arrogance of denial and dismissal. We deny the physiological evidence and in general we have denied that other animals can think or even feel. We forget that all mammals have climbed the evolutionary ladder with us, and some, like the whale, started climbing that ladder tens of millions of years before we evolved from that apelike ancestor that we shared with the Neanderthal, the chimp, and the mountain gorilla.

The whale has evolved in a different manner, its natural physical abilities giving it little cause to desire material baggage. The spear was not needed to get food — the whale is one of the most efficient hunters in natural history. The whale’s ability to travel, to communicate, to care for its young, and its complex social systems are all separate from external material acquisition. Whales have biologically evolved what we utilize technology to achieve. Technology is something that the whales have never needed. They contain all the assets needed for survival and development within their massive bodies and formidable brains.

Humans are big-brained manipulators. Cetaceans and elephants are big-brained non-manipulators. The hominid brain grew in size from 450 cc to 1,300 cc over a period of only five million years. Cetaceans had already reached 690 cc in brain size some thirty million years ago and had developed to their present capacity well before our own evolutionary jump in brain development.

Another major difference between the cetacean and human brain is the shape. The cranium of the whale evolved over millions of years to conform to the need for streamlined movement through the water. This need has shaped the brain, making it higher, but shortening the length front-to-back slightly. And this shape has resulted in a relatively thinner layering of the cortex that is more than compensated by the much greater surface area of the neocortex due to the tremendous in-folding of the convolutions. According to Pilleri and Gihr, dolphins, toothed whales, and primates have the most highly differentiated brains of all mammals, and Krays and Pilleri showed through electroencephalographical studies that the Amazon River dolphins have the highest degree of encephalization, much higher than primates.

Construction of the cortex was found to be equal or superior to primates. Cetaceans are the most specialized mammalian order on the planet, and we see intelligence in dozens of species. By contrast, Homo sapiens are the sole surviving hominid.
Humans may be the paramount tool-makers of the Earth, but the whale may be our paramount thinker. We can only imagine how a dolphin perceives the stars, but they may well do so better than we. Indeed, if the power of such an awesome brain could be utilized, travel to the stars might have already been achieved. The mind can travel to realms that rockets can never reach. Or perhaps they have already discovered that the ultimate destination of a voyager is to arrive back where it belongs — in its own place within the universe. The desire to travel to the stars could very well be an aberration, a need within a species that has been ecologically deprived. Intelligent species here or else where in the universe may have determined that space travel is not the ultimate expression of intelligence. It may only be the ultimate expression of technology: technology and wisdom may be widely diverse expressions of different forms of intelligence.

Intelligence can also be measured by the ability to live within the bounds of the laws of ecology — to live in harmony with one’s own ecology and to recognize the limitations placed on each species by the needs of an ecosystem. Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? What can be said of a species that reproduces beyond the ability of its habitat to support it? What do we make of a species that destroys the diversity that sustains the ecosystem that nourishes it? How is a species to be judged that fouls its water and poisons its own food?

On the other hand, how is a species that has lived harmoniously within the boundaries of its ecology to be judged?

It is an observable fact that whales and dolphins hold a special place in the hearts of human beings. We have had an affinity with them for years, recognizing in them something that it has been difficult to put a finger upon. What we do know is that they are different from other animals, apart from them in a manner that suggests a unique quality that we can intuitively recognize. That quality is intelligence.

Recognizing this quality has profound moral responsibilities. How can humans continue to slaughter creatures of an equal or superior intelligence? The path toward the reality of interspecies communications between cetaceans and humans may lead us to the recognition that we have been committing murder.

Utilizing the computer technology of our species in company with the linguistic and associative skills of cetaceans, we may be able to talk with these beings some day soon. The key is in understanding the different evolutionary developments within two completely different brains with uniquely developed sensory modalities.

Imagine being able to see into another person’s body, being able to see the flow of blood, the workings of the organs, and the flow of air into the lungs. Cetaceans can do this through echo-location. A dolphin can see a tumor inside the body of another dolphin. If an animal is drowning, this becomes instantly recognizable from being able to “see” the water filling the lungs. Even more amazing is that emotional states can be instantly detected. These are species incapable of deception, whose emotional states are open books to each other. Such biologically enforced honesty would have radically different social consequences from our own.

Sight in humans is a space-oriented distance sense which gives us complex simultaneous information in the form of analog pictures with poor time discrimination. By contrast, our auditory sense has poor space perception but good time discrimination. This results in human languages being comprised of fairly simple sounds arranged in elaborate temporal sequences. The cetacean auditory system is primarily spatial, more like human eyesight, with great diversity of simultaneous information and poor time discrimination. For this reason, dolphin language consists of very complex sounds perceived as a unit. What humans may need hundreds of sounds strung together to communicate, the dolphin may do in one sound. To understand us, they would have to slow down their perception of sounds to an incredibly boring degree. It is for this reason that dolphins respond readily to music. Human music is more in tune with dolphin speech.

Utilizing their skill at echo-location with elaborate detailed mental images of what they “see” through auditory channels, dolphins may be able to recreate and transmit images to each other. In other words, whereas our language is analog, cetacean language is digital. With the invention of the computer, we are now communicating with each other digitally, and this may be the key to unlocking the doors of perception into cetacean communication.

The possibilities are fantastic. Instead of communicating across the vast expanse of space, we may be able to bridge the chasm between species. But we will not be able to say that “we come in peace.” The tragic reality is that we will be speaking with species that we have slaughtered, enslaved, and abused. We can only hope that they will be forgiving of our ignorance.

If so, the future holds a place for the exchange of knowledge, the secrets of the seas, alternative philosophies, and unique and different perspectives. I can envision the words of the whales translated into books. Instead of just listening to the music of whale song, we will be able to understand what the songs convey. This may open up new horizons in literature, poetry, music, and oceanography.

In return, Moby Dick by Herman Melville might serve to show the whales that our species has come a long way toward peace between humankind and whalekind. The whales will learn the mysteries of the land and will be able to negotiate the release of members of their families that have been held captive for human amusement. Perhaps we can convince them that our species is not uniform in its evolution toward morality and understanding. If so, we may be able to convince them that our whalers are aberrations, throwbacks to our more barbaric origins and a collective embarrassment to our species.

Most importantly, we will learn the lesson that we cannot presume to judge intelligence based upon our own preconceptions, prejudice, and cultural biases. In so doing, we will be able to understand that we share this Earth with millions of other species, all intelligent in their own manner, and all equally deserving of the right to dwell in peace on this planet that we all call our home — this water planet with the strange name of Earth.

“They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.”
— D.H. Lawrence, Whales Weep Not

Bibliography and Sources:
Bunnell, Sterling. 1974. The Evolution of Cetacean Intelligence. Deacon, Terrence W. 1997. The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain. Jacobs, Myron.1974. The Whale Brain: Input and Behaviour. Lawrence, D.H. Whales Weep Not. Licino, Aldo. “Just Animals? Mammalian Studies Point to an Anatomical Basis to Intelligence.” Mensa Berichten: Mensa International Journal Extra. June 1996. Lilly, John. 1961. Man and Dolphin. Morgane, Peter. 1974. The Whale Brain: The Anatomical Basis of Intelligence. Pilleri, G. Behaviour Patterns of Some Delphinidae Observed in the Western Mediterranean.Sagan, Dr. Carl. 1971.The Cosmic Connections, The Dragons of Eden. Watson, Lyall.1996. Dark Nature: The Nature of Evil. Some information based on conversations over the last two decades with Dr. Michael Bigg (orcas), Dr. John Ford (orca dialects), Dr. Roger Payne (whale communication), and Dr. Paul Spong (orcas).

Illustration: Comparison of a human and dolphin brain showing the 4th lobe and more complex convolutions upon the neo-cortex of the dolphin as opposed to the human brain.


I took a quick breath of air and dove gently below the surface of the turquoise, warm water, here in Key West Florida. We were in the middle of the sea, however the sandy bottom was just two meters below me, shining brightly and comfortingly.


A dolphin had broken off from a small pod of dolphins and was circling around me. It was breathtaking feeling his eye fixed on mine. Awkwardly I tried to stand upright in the water trying something out that Don had experienced with a dolphin the day before.
Don, my husband, whom a number of people know from my other two books about dolphins, had had a tremendous experience with a dolphin the previous day. As a dolphin swam towards Don, the dolphin had oddly placed himself vertically in the water, seemingly mimicking humans, who often prefer to stick their head of out the water.

Don immediately copied him, stood upright, and bent his arms at the elbows in such a way, as to look like he had fins. Don waved with his pretend-flukes to the dolphin and the unimaginable happened: The dolphin waved back with his fin in just the same way. It was a picture perfect moment. Even more amazingly was that they waved their interspecies signal back and forth a number of times.
Neither Don, nor I, have ever experienced this behavior in our almost 1000 hours of swimming with wild dolphins.
It almost looked like a comedy: The dolphin and the man who stood under water, no less upright, giving each other a sign that they understood each other.
This experience was so extraordinary that I wanted to try it the next afternoon, when I went to swim with wild dolphins with my group.


As a dolphin swam towards me, I positioned myself just as Don had done: I stood upright in the water, angled my arms, waved with my pretend-flukes, and waited.

Nothing! No communication! Absolutely nothing!
Soon however, there was a second chance. A dolphin came up to me and again I stood upright under water, angled my arms and waved a dolphin-wave.

I almost choked when the dolphin copied my body posture and also stood upright in front of me and lo-and-behold he waved to me with his flukes as well.


It reminded me of the movie ET, the communication between two similarly intelligent specimens, who did not speak the same language.


Mind you, this gesture was a conscious voluntary, untrained gesture on the part of the dolphin in the wild, and not a trained show-trick.
I had already done a lot of creative experiments to crack the the communication code between humans and dolphins. The intelligence of dolphins is often praised, but all too often the dolphin is thought of to be a trainable, intelligent animal, which is used to amuse humans in water parks.
I wanted to change that. I have experimented and written about the power of telepathy between dolphins and humans with concrete experiments.

I wanted to show how intelligent dolphins actually are, and thus I wished to inspire humans to give a “sentient being” status to the dolphins and possibly even learn from them.

Many of these telepathic experiences, which I describe in my books, are embedded in stories describing the holographic nature of the universe, and how our life is a reflection of our inner world.


Whether it was with handicapped children, who pre-visualized how they wanted to swim with “their” dolphin, or whether it was adults, who had fulfilled a lifelong dream to swim with dolphins, most people recognize the amazing relationship between our thoughts and visions.
Through telepathy and the language of our heart and soul we can bridge the apparent separation between humans, humans and animal, even nations, and even across distances.

We can experience that which unites us. We can feel connected beyond time and space, beyond the ordinary object-subject separation that 3-D reality brings with it.

This transcendence of our separations is our evolutionary step. It is our future!
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My name is Ilona Selke,( and, musician and international seminar teacher in the area of personal growth and spirituality, and owner of thes piritual retreat center called Shangri-La, on the North Shore of Bali.

In seminars and many private sessions and conversations I have found that t here is a riches in sexuality and intimacy, that is available to aging men and women, and yet the material in the media about sexuality past menopause is sparse, usually only relates to the physical aspects,and it does not take into account that baby boomers expect to be youthful forever.

Faced with facts and fictions, myths and hopes I would like to gather honest sharing, challenges, workarounds and inspiring solutions for allof us who wish to experience an increased ability in sharing our core essence.
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Short Video by Ilona Selke about MEDIATION


This is a short inspirational video to talk about the stages of meditation.

Many people wonder what to do with their busy mind, as they try to quiet their mind in meditation.

This short film will address what you can do, stages you might expect to go through when you find your mind too chattery.

How dolphins say I love you


How dolphins say I love you with a bouquet of seaweed: They’re also pushy parents, make best friends for life – and exfoliate every day

This is a great article and most of it is true to what we have seen.
I am not sure of the romantic explanation of the seaweed, since they have played that game, also with leaves, and other sea grass with Don, my self and other swimmers more as a game. Yet it is noteworthy that Dolphins play these games of trowing a leaf so to speak in order for it to be caught by the other, something I have not seen amongst other wild animals.


Don’t buy tickets to Dolphins shows


This is a RE-PSOT of a  beautifully and well-written blog by and dolphin activist was trying to help bring about awareness to the situation in the COVE in TAJI JAPAN in RIC O’ BARRY’s BLOG DOLPHIN PROJECT

On one of the rare Blue days that have happened while I’ve been here, my fellow Cove Monitor volunteer, Tia Butt, and I decided to go down to the harbor to see if anything was happening.  Sometimes, you will see a dolphin being transferred.  When a dolphin transfer is going to happen, you see the crane and a truck with a large crate waiting near the water’s edge.  You’ll see lots of activity at the sea pens in the harbor as the workers prepare the dolphin for transport.  They need to lift it out of the sea pen, place it in a sling by the side of the skiff and drive it over to the waiting crane.  There are always lots of police present, as well.

Today was a little different.  We could see a little activity at the sea pens but not nearly as many workers as usual.  A crane and flatbed truck were waiting at the water’s edge, but something was missing: the crate.  We quickly walked from the harbor, past the Fishermen’s Union to the area where the crane was and could see a skiff coming our way.  However, there was no crate and no police.  Strange.  Respecting the yellow lines that mean “Do Not Cross” while getting as close I could, I watched them load a bottlenose dolphin into a sling.  Something wasn’t right – there was no movement coming from that dolphin.  As I focused my camera in on the dolphin’s face, I could see why.  It’s eyes were half shut and it’s mouth was slightly ajar…it was dead.



A dead bottlenose dolphin is lifted out of a sea pen in Taiji harbor for disposal.  Taiji dolphin hunters know there are plenty more where this one came from.  Photo by Cynthia Fernandez.


We watched in horror as they callously loaded that poor dolphin onto the back of the flatbed truck, wrapped it up in a blue tarp and drove away.  I’m not sure where they took the body.  I’m sure they were disappointed as a bottlenose dolphin is the most valuable species to them in terms of sales to marine parks.  They probably thought of nothing more than lost yen as they loaded that body on the truck and wrapped it up.

I paused for a moment to think about what that dolphin had endured. I thought about how it and its family had been driven for hours, trying to escape the deafening sounds of the banging on those banger poles.  Driven to the point of exhaustion into that Cove from which there is no escape.  I thought about how that dolphin had been manhandled by the trainers, forced into a sling, and carried away while the rest of its family were being brutally murdered.  I’m sure that dolphin could hear the cries of its dying family members. I thought about how it had been dumped into a tiny sea pen, alone and confused.  How it had been offered dead fish but, most likely, refused to eat.

How that dolphin grew weaker and weaker as the days passed and probably lost the will to live.  How that dolphin was a victim of capture shock.  I also thought that was probably the best outcome for that dolphin, given the circumstances.  My personal opinion is that it is better off dead than having to be “trained” to perform ridiculous tricks for the entertainment of humans and spend the rest of its life in slavery.


The dead dolphin is wrapped in the conspicuous blue tarps used in Taiji to hide the truth from the Japanese people.  Photo by Cynthia Fernandez.

I wished I could turn back time.  I wished that beautiful dolphin could be swimming free in the ocean with its family, never going near this place called Taiji.  I hope that somewhere that dolphin is swimming free with its family, that there’s a place where all animals go who have been abused and murdered by humans.  A place where they can all be free and safe, where they are out of the reach of greedy, heartless humans.

Speaking of greedy, heartless humans…we decided to visit the Taiji Whale Museum that day to check up on two recently transferred Risso’s dolphins.  We had witnessed their capture just days ago as well as the slaughter of their family members.  We had seen them lifted into crates and driven to the Whale Museum where they will spend the rest of their days “performing” for humans.  I flashed back to the dead bottlenose – I do believe he/she is better off.

With mixed feelings, we approached the Whale Museum, not wanting to support it yet wanting to check on the captives.  We also wanted to try to give those poor captives some positive energy, to try to let them know we were so vey sorry for everything that had happened to them.  We were reluctantly allowed to enter and watched closely the entire time we were there.  We went through the display area very quickly, getting a history of whaling and seeing the horrifying display of dolphin and whale embryos in jars and bottles in various stages of development.  I’ve never seen such bizarre things as I saw there.


Cove Monitor Tia Butt at one of the Taiji Whale Museum’s largest tank.  Photo by Cynthia Fernandez.

We went outside to the captive area.  I was saddened to see the bottlenose dolphins and pacific white-sided dolphins in tiny, concrete tanks.  Not much room to swim.  When we approached their tanks, they came over and wanted to interact with us.  There were signs everywhere warning us not to touch them as they can bite.  I think I would bite too if I was confined to a tiny space like that!  We then saw the larger lagoon area where the larger whales and dolphins are kept.  A pilot whale, a false killer whale, and Risso’s dolphins, including a mother and a calf, were all swimming in the lagoon.  There were several sea pens with various dolphins in them.  Then, in the very back pen, we spotted two Risso’s dolphins spy-hopping together, looking incredibly sad and confused.  It was so sad to think about what those incredible animals had endured.  Unlike the bottlenose dolphin, they had survived.  Again, my own personal opinion is that the bottlenose was in a better place.  Those two Risso’s stuck by each other’s side the entire time we were there.  I hope, at the very least, they are able to find some comfort in being together.

The very last tank we visited was a walk-through, see-through tank with four dolphins in it.  I stopped to look at the poor dolphins.  One dolphin swam over to me and just hung motionlessly in the water, us looking at each other eye to eye, our eyes no more than four inches apart.  She began to click and whistle to me.  How I wish I could have communicated with her.  I would have told her how sorry I am for what humans had done to her and her family, that not all humans enjoy seeing dolphins in captivity and that there are many people fighting to end this brutal slaughter and end dolphin captivity.  Unfortunately, it was too late for her.  She swam away, and I thought about her some more, my back to the tank.  Then, I heard the familiar clicks and whistles.  She had returned and was trying to get my attention.  Ours eyes locked once more and she clicked and whistled at me.  I tried to talk to her – my words seemed like a primitive language compared to her complicated clicks and whistles.  I hope she understood that there are people trying to help her and end this craziness.

Again, the connection between captivity and the slaughter is crystal clear.  The money made from the sale of captive dolphins is what fuels the slaughter.  The captive trade of cetaceans is a multi-million dollar industry, and Taiji is ground zero.  We have no chance of ending this slaughter as long as there are millions of dollars to be made from the captive dolphin trade.

However, you do have the power to help end this slaughter!

Don’t buy a ticket to any facility that holds dolphins captive but, most importantly, spread the word!  Talk to your friends and family, share information on social media, and attend protests…whatever you can do to spread the word!  Until we can end the show and empty the tanks, I believe the slaughter will continue.  So, please do your part to help.

Together, we can end the show!


A captive false killer whale in the Taiji Whale Museum, never to see freedom again.  Photo by Cynthia Fernandez.




10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier,

Here’s an article that is really worthwhile reading all the way to the end.

Scientific long-term studies proof that our RELATIONSHIPS, and SHARING as well as CARING for other people besides the well known item such as sufficient sleep, exercise and meditation help us to be happy.

I was surprised how much I learned in this article.


Here are ten of the best ones I found.

1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.

Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:

The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!



Bio-Identical Hormones


Which women doesn’t go through it? The MENOPAUSE?

The average age at which women are faced with some sign or another of menopause is somewhere in the 40s.

Each person in each body is different, for some women it may start with vaginal dryness, with other women it may be night sweats, foggy thinking, subtle forms of depression, weight gain etc.

As our hormone production drops, depending on our body type, nutrition and genetic predisposition, we will have more or less severe symptoms.

Bone density seems to go down, or connective tissue will start to loose its bounds, which goes also for our internal organs. All in all it is not such a great thing to lose the elasticity, sex drive, joy etc. if we wish to stay alive and vibrant.
Keep reading »

Aging – And Bio Identical Hormones

Suzanne Somers at age 65

Let’s face it, sooner or later all of us grow up and get older.
Men and women alike will drop in their production of natural hormones, and the result set in.

Yes, that is for both men and women…so keep reading.

Mood swings, depression, sleeplessness, loss of sex drive, increased body weight etc. are often times the signs of the changing times.

Artificial replacement hormone therapy was originally hailed as the great Savior. But with time and drastic increase in cancer cases, brought on in part by the hormone replacement therapies which commonly used patented, synthetic hormones, scared many women.
And rightly so.

HOWEVER, times have changed, and possibly to the dismay of the regular establishment, BIO IDENTICAL HORMONES have had a fabulous effect on stemming off the inevitable: Menopause. Keep reading »

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