Humans love dolphins, and dolphins, it seems, love us: they have been known to encircle swimmers under attack by sharks. Yet although we think we know dolphins well, in fact most people are quite ill-informed about how they evolved, how they function as organisms and how they have interacted with humans for millennia. Dolphin offers a comprehensive view of the animal, describing both its remarkable zoology and its social and cultural history.
For centuries dolphins were believed to protect sailors and, by extension, became emblematic of safe travel, kindness and charity. In ancient Greece dolphins featured on coins, and it was considered a good omen for them to follow in a boat’s wake. In Hindu mythology the dolphin is associated with Ganga, the deity of the Ganges river. From the television series Flipper to the films The Day of the Dolphin and Johnny Mnemonic and books such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which dolphins are represented as much more intelligent than humans, dolphins have captivated humans since time immemorial.
In Dolphin Alan Rauch draw on years of experience working with and studying dolphins to provide thoughtful insights into the ways in which we have interacted with and interpreted this delightful creature over the centuries.
1 Zoology and Physiology: Evolution and Adaptation
2 Species of Dolphins: A Cosmopolitan Animal
3 The Dolphin in History and Mythology
4 Social Behaviour, Intelligence and Echolocation
5 Dolphin Dangers: Tuna, Predation, Pollution and Exploitation
6 Popular Culture and Dolphins
Timeline of the Dolphin
Associations and Websites
Alan Rauch is Associate Professor of English at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.