Dolphins and Humans
In the debate of whether or not a dolphin can be considered a human, the area of reasoning is a comparison trait that cannot easily be overlooked. Although the researchers at A&M University of Texas point out, “13 of 22 dolphin chromosomes were exactly the same as human chromosomes. Of the remaining nine dolphin chromosomes, many were combinations or rearrangements of their human counterparts. Researchers also identified three dolphin genes that were similar to human genes”.
In the analysis of ‘personhood’ and reason, the brain is the main objectified factor. Though humans are anthropocentric, dolphins make clear cousins to them. According to Jonathon Bell the difference between human and dolphin brain isn’t that diversified:
- Their cortex is also stratified in much the same way as a humans.
- The frontal lobe of dolphins is also developed to a level comparable to humans.
- In addition the parietal lobe of dolphins which "makes sense of the senses" is larger than the human parietal.
The ability to reason, to deduce and think logically is found in the brain. If then both human and dolphin brains carry these very striking resemblances, then it can further be stated, the dolphin has the ability to reason. Therefore, a dolphin is a person. If the brain is the defining factor in the discourse of human dolphin relations, it is again Bell who states, “In the final measure of brain complexity, neural density dolphins also measure up quite favorable to humans. In certain areas of the brain concerned with "emotional control, objectivity, reality orientation, humor, logically consistent abstract thought and higher creativity" dolphins have an higher ratio of neural density”. If the brain is the key ingredient to persuasion over the ability to reason, these facts do justice to the idea of dolphins as human. These are not the only factors to be examined in the debate of dolphin as person.
Another plane of the philosophy of personhood involves soul. This soul is said to have been given by God. It seems immeasurable, incapable of being proven to exist, but the genetic variables, and different identities of the mammal kingdom lead one to believe there should be a definite source of the soul. It is a postulation, but since it is God who deems souls, then another trait that no other animal has must be the tangible source of saying a soul exists. This might be laughter. No other mammal laughs, nothing gives voice to the state of emotion that causes them to laugh. Laughter is the manifestation of soul. In turn it might be said that tears are the equivalent of the emotional playing ground that also manifest and prove the existence of the soul. Then again it is dolphins who are the saving grace of such postulation, for they, like humans, laugh in expression of joy and cry in expression of pain.
There are other traits that do not differentiate the small gap between human and dolphin. An interesting thing of note is that it is only humans and dolphins who copulate facing each other. Other animals do this activity with the male mounting the female from behind. It is also known that humans and dolphins are the only two creatures who mate while not in heat. This is mentioned because it is a form of expression. And this is the crux of the idiom between human and dolphin. Since copulation outside of the mating cycle isn’t adherent to traits of other beings, it can then be deciphered that this trait is a very strong bond between human and dolphin. It means that expression is the means to which dolphins can be considered part of ‘personhood’.
With this philosophy in mind the question then arises whether or not dolphins should be granted the same rights as humans, and what are those rights? Preceding this pattern of thought it may be surmised that dolphins are unfairly kept in captivity. But there are certain reasons why this so: Some dolphins are kept in captivity in order to heal a wound, etc. Humans keep many animals in cages, but it is of course illegal to keep a human in a cage. The designing difference is that it is unjust and inhuman to do so. It comes to reason that it should be inhuman to keep a dolphin in a cage (place of entertainment). This seems cruel and unusual if the roles were reversed and we all gathered to witness the demeaning of a person doing tricks for fish it would cause Amnesty International to raise chaos with the government. It is curious to think that maybe if the lines of communication were open between humans and dolphins, there would be a conscious choice in whether or not dolphins wanted to be where they are; in aquariums. Dolphins do communicate with each other, and have the capabilities of reason but we are as yet unable to decipher all of their sound waves the thus are unable to fully comprehend their desires. If it were possible to ask them what they wanted, then the grey area of entertainment, of captivity etc. would be more streamlines, and easier to know what the best course of action, with consideration to the rights of the dolphin, would be.