We have recently reported that both dolphins and elephants may be self-aware beings, like humans. Scientists think that dolphins and whales, which live in the water despite breathing air, evolved onto land, but then RETURNED to the water, because they liked it better there. Now scientists may have found a missing link that proves this theory of evolution?just as we’ve recently discovered a human missing link.

Japanese researchers captured a bottlenose dolphin that has an extra set of fins that could be the remains of hind legs. Fossil remains prove that 50 million years ago, dolphins and whales were land animals that walked on four feet.
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Intelligent animals, like dogs and cats, recognize their names. A parrot will generally tell you his name if you ask him. But dolphins do even more?they give THEMSELVES names, then they send that name out through the depths of the ocean in order to tell other dolphins “hello.”

A dolphin’s name may sound like a series of whistles to us, but it’s recognizable by other dolphins. Like some human languages (such as Chinese), understanding what is being said has to do with the way the words are pronounced?or in this case, in the frequencies of the whistles.
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It has sometimes been dismissed as a New Age cure, and animal rights people sometimes complain that it’s not good for the dolphins, but it turns out that swimming with dolphins really does fight depression better than drugs and lasts longer, according to doctors.

Researchers allowed a group of patients to swim and snorkel with dolphins in a two-week experiment. Three months later, they were still experiencing lasting benefits and did not need medical treatment.

Dr. Michael Reveley thinks that dolphin therapy is thought to stimulate the nervous system through emotional engagement with animals and the natural environment. He says, “It has the potential to bring alternative clinical strategies to the treatment of emotional disorders.
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Dolphins in Florida have been trained to sing the theme from the movie “Batman.” They have been taught to combine both rhythm and vocalizations to produce an extremely high-pitched, but recognizable, version of the Batman song.

Jennifer Viegas writes in Discovery News that researcher Heidi Harley did just do this for fun–it’s the first time that non-human mammals have shown that they recognize, and can reproduce, vocal rhythms.

Trained dolphins from Disney’s Epcot Center were used for the study. They were trained to “sing” the Batman song when shown a Batman doll, then rewarded with fish if they did it correctly.
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