CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Dolphins sing the blues

Actually, dolpins have been taught to sing the theme from Batman.

"Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song."

Some years back, I walked out of one of the Batman movies. I vaguely remember someone (I think it was the Penguin) walking into a restaurant and gassing everyone there. In the corner of my mind, I was reminded of other scenes in history where people were in a closed room, and they were gassed. What was particularly repulsive was the sadistic pleasure the scene seemed to try to cultivate: at the end, one of the dying restaurant guests was convulsing in an almost humorous way.

But this is a blog about healing and health care, not about what is dark and disgusting. And in any event, scientific inquiry will no doubt dismiss those subjective reactions as idiosyncratic and unverifiable.

What I'm really getting at is why dolphins are taught to sing the theme from Batman and not Beethoven's Ninth.

Maybe the discrepancy has to do with the fact that I've placed this post under the heading of "ethical issues," whereas others have questioned whether recording the dolphins will raise intellectual property issues.

I noticed that a related article is entitled, Dolphins better at networking than the Web. Which is where my intuitive leap had intially gone: the question for science is not what songs dolphins can learn from the warped parts of our minds (i.e., the parts that have children giving higher recognition to Ronald McDonald than to George Washington, or even than to depictions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus--if you saw the film, "Supersize Me."). The question is rather what tunes we can learn from the dolphins.

"People who develop complex networks, like the World Wide Web or electricity grids, could learn a lot from the social behaviour of dolphins, a New Zealand zoologist has found.

David Lusseau, a zoologist at the University of Otago spent seven years observing a community of 64 bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand, and found they have a social structure similar to human and human-made networks.

His mathematical study of their social behaviour is published in the latest issue of the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Many complex networks, including human societies, have properties that allow information to be exchanged quickly among members. Lusseau's study shows that animal societies are also organised in a manner that permits a quick and efficient transfer of information. Gregarious long-lived animals, such as gorillas, deer, elephants and bottlenose dolphins rely on information transfer to use their habitat."

Interestingly, energy healing, a branch of energy medicine, asserts that information is conveyed through something known as -- but not yet scientifically proven to be -- the human energy field. Thus, the Sameuli Institute for Information Biology, one of the premier think tanks researching biofield phenomena, conceptualizes the human energy field as a repository of information about health and healing potential, some of which may also be biologically (and electromagnetically) mediated.

Consider this:

"By comparison, the dolphin community showed great resilience to having hubs removed. The cohesiveness of the dolphin community remained unaffected by the removal of key individuals. The resilience properties of this network allow the maintenance of a cohesive society even if there was a catastrophe resulting in the loss of more than a third of the population."

Our dolphin friends may just be a leap or two ahead of our own ability to communicate through the five senses. Training dolphins to repeat commercialized popular culture for our own entertainment seems like throwing the precious pearl of consciousness to the swine of instant gratification.

Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law, with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is also President of the the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society. The Institute serves as a reliable forum for investigation and recommendations regarding the legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care.

The most recent book written by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary and alternative medicine and related fields is an interdisciplinary collection of essays entitled, Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, the first being Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998).


PS: A link from an older article about chimps having culture brought this up:

"Just as human societies have particular technologies, food and fashions, different chimpanzee groups have their own distinct ways of grooming, gathering ants, cracking nuts, and using tools.

Having a unique suite of behavioural characteristics that distinguishes one community from another means we humans can no longer consider ourselves the only cultural animal on the planet, the researchers say in the journal Nature."

The notion of humans having "dominion" over the planet is being challenged in a variety of domains.

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