November 5, 2006

When dolphins walked the earth.

50 million years ago, dolphins and whales -- they say -- were four-legged creatures lumbering about like hippos. And now, they seem inclined to evolve those legs again. Scary!

(You don't think dolphins are scary? You need to listen to this, about the evil version of Flipper: Zipper. "Oh, Zipper's surly. He is uncaring.")

21 comments:

Edward said...

Many evangelicals don’t believe in evolution, so they won’t accept the premise of your post.

I really would like to know how many of your readers refuse to believe in evolution.

CB said...

Scary!

Times like these call for the strong leadership of "Diamond" Joe Quimby:
"People, please! We're all frightened and horny. But we can't let some killer dolphins keep us from living and scoring."

Balfegor said...

This calls for an Onion link.

Shanna said...

"People, please! We're all frightened and horny. But we can't let some killer dolphins keep us from living and scoring."
Heh. That episode was on the other day. I've been suspicious of dolphins since I saw it :)

Pat Patterson said...

In HP Lovecraft stories the dolphins were always the, pardon the pun, foot-soldiers of Cthulhu. And even more significant Cthulhu's hidden city was in the Gulf of Arabia. If the dolphins can walk again then we'll all end up as food for the Old gods.

Bissage said...

"Fa loves Pa."

Balfegor said...

In HP Lovecraft stories the dolphins were always the, pardon the pun, foot-soldiers of Cthulhu. And even more significant Cthulhu's hidden city was in the Gulf of Arabia. If the dolphins can walk again then we'll all end up as food for the Old gods.

Ah yes,

In his House at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu lies sleeping

But I thought R'lyeh was in the Pacific.

Fenrisulven said...

I think it was F Herbert [?] who wrote about aliens coming to visit a dolphin research scientist. Their litmus test for 1st Contact was the ability of a planet's most intelligent species to communicate with lesser ones. The scientist then busted his butt to translate & respond to dolphin calls - his sucess was rewarded by the aliens swiming off to congratulate and welcome the dolphins into their "federation".

johnstodderinexile said...

Six or seven years ago, the NY Times had a long story in its Science section in which it demonstrated that the real dolphins were far from their image of being graceful messengers of beauty and peace -- that in fact, some of them were homicidal maniacs. I'll have to look this story up.

Even still, if I had to choose, I'd rather swim near a dolphin than a shark -- even a baby shark.

P.S. to Edward. I have my own position on this subject. I refuse to believe that evangelicals refuse to believe in evolution. They say they don't, but that's just for public consumption. When the TV cameras go away, they laugh their heads off and pull out their science books.

Shanna said...

I know when they have shark week on discovery channel, they have mentioned that Dolphins will attack the sharks and that seals in South African mimic the way a dolphin swims, jumping out of the water, to make the sharks afraid of them.

I don't know about them being "homicidal maniacs" though.

Pat Patterson said...

Balfegor; Yep, R'lyeh sank into the South Pacific while the cult of Cthuhu was centered in Arabia. I'm still staying well clear of Flipper.

amba said...

Dolphins rape. They even try to rape humans.

SteveWe said...

While I can't find it right now, there was an article (Nature?) about dolphins that had the following premise. Dolphins have large brains because they, warm blooded mammals, live in a cold environment (the ocean *is* cold) and brain size reduces heat loss of core tissue. Also, most of dolphin brain tissue is engineered for maintaining heat. Very little of that tissue is actual "brain" matter, or synapses. Ipso, dolphins are not as smart as we might think if we only go by brain mass as a measure of intelligence. Sorry to pop anyone's bubble about this.

Anecdotally, I lived in San Diego, home of Sea World, and knew a few dolphin trainers/keepers. Without exception, they said that dolphins are pretty dumb, mean, and of a nature that one should never turn ones back upon.

amba said...

And here's an Outside Magazine article that refers to that Times article about dolphin evil. This one's worth reading, if only for the headline "Slutfish Confess: We Do It for the Halibut."

Maxine Weiss said...

I read somewhere that Dolphins are the most romantic of all mammals.

The article said that only humans, Dolphins and Orangutans...were the only species to have physical relations, for reasons other than procreation.

Can you imagine.....having physical relations, but not for procreation?

Wow, that's a first.

I, however, am coming back as a sea lion.

Peace, Maxine

Ron said...

dolphins are pretty dumb, mean, and of a nature that one should never turn ones back upon.

Feet are one thing, but they come out of the water with suicide belts on, that's it, I'm invading the Pacific Ocean. "Why settle for just a third?," will be our rallying cry...

The birkenstock people will rejoice as the strolling dolphins will represent an untapped market for them. Or maybe they will wear Ann's French orange clogs and come to worship Mario Batalli.

Balfegor said...

Re: Ron

Feet are one thing, but they come out of the water with suicide belts on, that's it, I'm invading the Pacific Ocean. "Why settle for just a third?," will be our rallying cry...

Shades of Capek's The War with the Newts. Haha.

Paddy O. said...

"Anecdotally, I lived in San Diego, home of Sea World, and knew a few dolphin trainers/keepers. Without exception, they said that dolphins are pretty dumb, mean, and of a nature that one should never turn ones back upon."

Oddly enough, this might support the idea dolphins are smart and social creatures. Living in Sea World would be like a person living in a prison and having to put on interpretive dances for the public at 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30.

Likely make me kinda dumb and mean too.

Ann Althouse said...

Ron: My red (not orange) shoes are not clogs! And they are French, not German or Scandinavian!

Ron said...

Ron: My red (not orange) shoes are not clogs! And they are French, not German or Scandinavian!

Odd, they looked orange in that picture from awhile back. M'bad. From the top they do look "clogish", but I'll take your word for it! But I did call them French! As you often say...go back and read the comment to the post!

If I could draw a conclusion, even, I'd draw some footed dolphins with the clogs, er, shoes on...

SteveWe said...

You are probably correct, Paddy O. But, let's remember that the dolphins are in Sea World to entertain the sentient apes who paid the admission fee to view the show and to support the whole "experience" of capture, training and exploitation. Why? Because they are so cute. Ditto for nasty koalas that also look so cute.

Frankly, I prefer to encounter animals in the "wild" -- just so long as they are like WNC black bears or Arizona cougars and not crazed Wisconsin squirrels in the attic or Georgia rabbits trying to get into my canoe.