by Steve Sommers
Dolphins, I've just found out, do not
sleep at all. This, supposedly, is why they have such unnecessarily
large brains for what they need to do. Because they never sleep, they
also don't dream and since they don't dream they have to have large
brains since the reason for dreaming - the theory goes - is to clear the
brain of neurological garbage. Dolphins aren't really as smart as their
huge apparently well developed brains and especially forebrains would
indicate. They just have a lot of brain trash that they don't know what
to do with, so it just sits around there cluttering up their head like
that closet you never got around to organizing.
I'd read a book on early Dolphin research
by the scientist John Lilly who wrote back in about the sixties. I
forget all that he discovered, but I remember the way he started out
with his research was to vivesect five or six of these cute sea mammals
so that he could carefully examine slices of their brains. Also, in
setting up his special research facility he killed a couple accidentally
since he didn't know the proper way to transport them. He didn't seem
too troubled by his casual slaughter of these adorable animals.
After reading this book, I looked around
to find out what other studies had been done with dolphins and I found
virtually nothing. Well, there had been a lot more dolphin research it
turns out, but the problem was that it was taken over by the US military
and was therefore classified. The Navy soon figured out that dolphins
were very trainable and cheap - they worked for fishes. Word is that
dolphins now patrol underwater at sensitive government marine
facilities. Oh, and of course the Navy figure out that if you strap a
bomb on the back of Flipper they make really neat guided torpedoes.
You'd have to figure that they wouldn't miss that one.
I'm not sure that I really buy the
argument that dolphins have big brains for no particular reason. After
all, sharks don't sleep do they? And they don't have gigantic craniums.
And if sleeping sharpens the intellect how come cats aren't geniuses?
They sleep all the time. They're smart enough at killing birds and such,
but have you ever seen a cat do calculus? They just mess it all up.
The fact of the matter is there is not
one universally accepted scientific theory about why animals sleep. That
is scary. You would have thought that would have been one of the first
things they would have nailed down, but for some reason, no. There are a
lot of guesses or scientists who are willing to state their guesses with
the certitude of God himself, but they don't all agree.
I'd like to believe that Dolphins are as
smart as humans and they use every single one of their brain cells. I've
wondered, though, what on Earth they would do underwater all that time
without any hands. They can't build nuclear bombs or play chess or
anything like that, and if you put an X-Box in front of them they would
absolutely be out in the cold. Pretty much all they could do is swim
around all day and look at fish. I think I could do that for a day or
two and be pretty happy, but after that, man, it's got to get a little
Dolphins communicate with each other,
even though I haven't heard that their system's been entirely figured
out. Certainly no scientist is willing to give them the benefit of
believing they could have an actual language. But, you know what? I
will. Dolphins have a language and it's absolutely beautiful - to them.
They spend all day telling each other stories and most of all they
create the most exquisite poetry the world has ever known. And the
reason they don't sleep is because life to them is absolutely wonderful
and they don't want to miss any of it - not even to dream.
About the Author
Steve Sommers is the author of Breakfast
with the Antichrist. Visit his Website at http://www.breakfastwiththeantichrist.com