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"One comes away from Reiss’s book agreeing that ‘dolphins are among the smartest creatures on the planet’ and that they merit not just our attention but our care and protection."—New York TimesFor centuries, humans and dolphins have enjoyed a special relationship, evident not just in mythology and folklore but in many documented encounters. Diana Reiss is one of the world’s leading experts on dolphin intelligence, and her decades of research and interactions with dolphins have made her a strong advocate for their global protection. In The Dolphin in the Mirror, Reiss combines her science and activism to show just how smart dolphins really are and why we must protect them.Dolphins are creative and self-aware, with distinct personalities and the ability to communicate with humans. They craft their own toys, use underwater keyboards, and live in complex societies in the seas. And yet some nations continue to slaughter them indiscriminately. This story of Reiss’s encounters and research with dolphins is both a scientific revelation and an emotional eye-opener, revealing one of the greatest intelligences on the planet and exposing our terrible mistreatment of the smartest creatures in the sea."Reiss has managed no small feat—synthesizing personal experience, descriptive material, and scientific fact . . . No one reading this book could possibly remain untouched by the beauty and intelligence of these powerful mammals of the sea."—Irene Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me"Reiss fills the book with such intriguing tales and with the science behind them… Reiss is passionate about her science, but she is passionate about her subjects as well."—The Tampa Bay Times
About the Author
Dr. Diana Reiss is Professor in the Psychology Department at Hunter College and in the Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Program of The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She directs the Dolphin Research Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She is also adjunct faculty in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University, and she served as a member of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Her research focuses on dolphin cognition and communication, comparative animal cognition, and the evolution of intelligence. She has authored papers published in numerous international scientific journals and book chapters and her work has been featured in many television science programs. She has authored papers published in numerous international scientific journals and book chapters and her work has been featured in many television science programs.
The director of dolphin research at Baltimore's National Aquarium retraces the path by which science has come to understand dolphin intelligence.A committed activist on behalf of dolphin welfare, Reiss provides an account of her personal journey and the history of the development of proofs of the creatures’ high intelligence. The author chronicles the evolution of the field, beginning with John Lilly's groundbreaking work on their language and concluding with a description of her own experimental work that demonstrates that dolphins are creatures endowed with self-awareness. Reiss also discusses her struggle to get these important findings published in scientific literature. In her doctoral thesis, she proposed a series of rigorous experiments that laid the basis for documenting dolphins’ ability to communicate with symbols, recognize their mirror image and even reflect upon their experiences. While involved in her scientific studies, she was also struggling to secure funding and protect the animals she was working with from being sold for commercial exploitation. Reiss movingly conveys her deepening relationship with the dolphins, and she documents how, through each step of the process, and with each new generation, there is a tremendous emotional pull built upon the establishment of communication and empathy between our different species. This has historical antecedents—reflected in classical mythology, as well as in the actual experiences of people rescued at sea by dolphins. Among the author’s purposes in writing this engrossing scientific memoir is to build support to stop the annual massacres of dolphins in Japan and elsewhere.
8-page insert. Author tour to San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C.