Mammal: Dolphin

Amanda Gersh
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Sadly, those cute beeping, clicking, autistic-children–loving Flippers are not the Goody Two-shoes we think they are, and for the last decade, scientists have been trying to shove the cold, hard, bottle-nosed truth in our enchanted faces, but we will not hear it. No! we shout as we leap into warm Florida waters to commune with the ocean’s graceful and glossy ambassadors. Shut up! we cry, as experts from Scotland to Australia attempt to stop us from grabbing onto that fin and riding off into the sunset. La la la… we hum loudly to drown out the sounds of science. (RAPE! MURDER! BABY-KILLING!) LA LA LA! Like the ancient Greeks and Romans, we remain ever-worshipful of dolphins and stuck on the idea that a mutual affinity exists between our species. We believe that in contrast to, say, dingoes, dolphins would never, say, eat our babies. Like the ancient Greeks and Romans, we’re suckers for a good myth.


In a world where appearance is everything, dolphins—with their upturned mouths—are tops. Then there’s all that “dolphins are smart and use sonar” stuff. Plus, there are those benevolent things dolphins do for us: Whether you’re terminally ill or just feeling a bit crappy, swimming with dolphins is pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Dolphins like to frolic. They’re peppy. That’s why dolphin interaction packages abound, and many outfits now take you out of the pool and into the wild for some playful dolphin therapy. Perhaps it will be a glorious spirit-elevating splash with the sweetie of the sea. He might oblige you. Or kill you. Few humans have yet been killed by dolphins, but many humans think it’s only a matter of time. We’re getting too much in their faces. And we’ve gotten to know them a whole lot better, too.


The following dolphin-perpetrated atrocities have been widely documented:

  • gang rape of dolphin females
  • prostitution of same
  • porpoise holocausts
  • adults grabbing adorable baby dolphins in their beaks and whacking them to death


Species survival strategies (rivalry, runt removal, etc.) can validate infanticide. But scientists are stumped by the abundant porpoise slaughter and sexual violation fests that dolphins engage in, not to mention the apparent revelry they display in their appalling deeds. Even evolution can’t explain why male dolphins leap for joy after corralling terrified females for a spot of rape. Or why they laugh their dolphin laughs, high-fiving each other with their flippers. Or why dolphin penises stand erect after a murder most foul. Or maybe we made that up. We do not know for sure. We do know there is such a thing as evil, and dolphins, it appears, know it too.


The good news: We can still identify with our dolphin brothers. Should we really be so shocked at dolphins for being gentle to weird kids and happy to synchro-swim with babes in bikinis, yet acting creepy in other ways? David Hasselhoff has gotten away with this type of icky-sweet conduct for a long time, and if he had a pointy beak, isn’t it reasonable to assume he might wield it? And wouldn’t you be ready to dismember someone if you worked gratis in a tropical island pool and had to put on a happy face for forty fat tourists who’ve just had their hair braided with rasta beads and now wish to stick their fingers into your blowhole? And what of those males who have orgies and, mere hours later, sweetly kiss the lips of brides at Paradise Island Honeymoon Resort? Some in our species exhibit creepy behavior, too!

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