To Touch a Wild Dolphin by Rachel Smolker

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



To Touch a Wild Dolphin is the first intimate account of dolphin life in the wild. In 1982 Rachel Smolker traveled to Monkey Mia, a remote beach on the west coast of Australia where wild dolphins regularly interact with humans. Over the next fifteen years, Smolker and a team of fellow scientists were able to explore the lives of dolphins as they had never been explored before: up close, in their natural environment, with a definite recognition of individual dolphin identities.

Smolker came to know the relationships, histories, and "personalities" of the dolphins. In To Touch a Wild Dolphin she offers delightful portraits of dolphins she became close to, ranging from the playful and incredibly silly to the slightly crazy, moody, and unpredictable. This develops into an examination of dolphin society and the diversity of characters that inhabit it. And ultimately from the intriguing, sometimes violent differences between the sexes to the nature of mother-infant relationships, to the wide repertoire of sounds used for social communication Smolker is able to reveal the inner workings of dolphin life with unprecedented clarity.

Smolker was initially attracted to dolphins for the reasons that attract so many people to them: an elusive sense of their intelligence and their social and emotional complexity, a sense that despite the fact that we live in such entirely different worlds, dolphins are somehow like us. Now, after years of fascinating, inspiring, sometimes troubling, and occasionally heartbreaking experiences with the dolphins of Monkey Mia, Smolker is able to unravel many of the mysteries surrounding these beloved animals.

To Touch a Wild Dolphin is a personal book in many ways, at the level of the dolphins and also at the level of the scientist. It is an important book, one that greatly enhances our understanding of dolphins and of ourselves, and as such it will take its place alongside such classics as Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf and Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Rachel Smolker

See more books from this Author
Rachel Smolker cofounded the Monkey Mia Dolphin Research Project in 1982, which continues to produce groundbreaking insights into virtually every aspect of dolphin life. She has participated in other studies of dolphins and whales all over the world, including British Columbia, the Bahamas, and New Zealand. She has also observed various species of primates in Southeast Asia, Central America, and Madagascar. She is currently a research associate at the University of Vermont and maintains an affiliation with the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, where she completed her doctorate. She lives in Vermont.From the Hardcover edition.
Published May 18, 2011 by Anchor. 306 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for To Touch a Wild Dolphin

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Smolker’s years at Shark Bay in the Indian Ocean off Australia were concerned not so much with “How smart are they?” as with “How are they smart?” Since the scientist’s work started during the early days of dolphin research, such questions as how often they have babies and how they are raised, wh...

| Read Full Review of To Touch a Wild Dolphin

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

In the tradition of When Elephants Weep by Susan McCarthy and Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, biologist Smolker provides an intimate, engaging glimpse into the world of wild dolphins.

| Read Full Review of To Touch a Wild Dolphin

Reader Rating for To Touch a Wild Dolphin

An aggregated and normalized score based on 18 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review