The Dolphin in the Mirror by Diana Reiss
Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives

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Synopsis

A memoir by the world’s leading dolphin and whale expert, revealing the extraordinary richness of these animals’ intelligence and exposing our terrible mistreatment of the smartest creatures in the sea.

For centuries, humans and dolphins have enjoyed a special relationship, evident not just in mythology and folklore but in many documented encounters. Some past cultures even worshipped dolphins and condemned anyone who killed or wounded of them. Yet in recent decades, a paradox: on the one hand, we have discovered extraordinary depths of dolphin intelligence and their emotional lives, to the point of glimpsing their self-consciousness—on the other hand, in Japan, dolphins are slaughtered indiscriminately, and several nations keep them in cruel conditions.

Diana Reiss is one of the world’s leading experts on dolphin intelligence who has helped lead the revolution in dolphin understanding for three decades. In addition, as an activist, she is a leading rescuer who helped inspire and served as an adviser for The Cove, and who continues to campaign against the annual Japanese slaughters. Here, she combines her science and activism to show us just how smart dolphins really are, and why we must stop mistreating them. Readers will be astonished at dolphins’ sonar capabilities; at their sophisticated, lifelong playfulness; at their emotional intelligence; and at their ability to bond with other species, including humans and even dogs! Her beloved companion dolphins, each with distinct personalities, create their own toys, type commands on a keyboard, tease and scold her playfully, and express their affection and delight. In Reiss’s most famous experiments, she used a mirror to prove that dolphins are self-aware, and even self-conscious. The Dolphin in the Mirror is both a scientific revelation and a emotional eye-opener, revealing one of the greatest intelligences on Earth.

 

About Diana Reiss

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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.
 
Published September 20, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 288 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Young Adult, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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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.

Jun 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dolphin in the Mirror: Ex...

Publishers Weekly

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Dolphins have long captivated mankind, and this wide-ranging account of the highly evolved species demonstrates the complexity of this relationship—and the challenges of writing about our sentimental attachments to animals.

Jun 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dolphin in the Mirror: Ex...

Tampa Bay Times

(The ancient Greeks believed dolphins were closer to the gods than humans were, and they executed men who killed them.) Inspired by research being done with apes that involved symbol keyboards, Reiss built one for Circe, a kind of "dolphin vending machine" that let the animal choose a desirable o...

Sep 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Dolphin in the Mirror: Ex...

Spirituality & Practice

But as time passed, this high regard for the connections between dolphins and human beings was challenged by the unrestrained slaughter of dolphins by the whaling industry and others.

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