DeMares is the first person to hold a doctorate in interspecies communication. Her emphasis is on transpersonal consciousness, the human-nonhuman animal bond, and bio-ethics.
Much of DeMares’ research focuses on the mammals with the highest intelligence, including primates and cetaceans. Surprisingly, there are more animals than we think that have rudimentary language. For instance, prairie dogs have extensive vocabularies for danger intrudors, with different words for human, antelope, coyote, snake and so on, with even distinguishing words for color and shape of the intruders.
But in this book, she focuses mostly on dolphins. There are many other dolphin researchers that she introduces, including the infamous John Lilly, who is probably more known to us from his 1960ies subculture of drugs and particularly LSD, than from his groundbreaking dolphin research. Both Lilly and DeMares believe that dolphins are at least as intelligent as humans, perhaps even more. They believe they have a complicated language, oral history, ethics and highly developed social order.
The book also talks about the more foo-foo stuff, like dolphins as healers, dolphin consciousness and how it affects humans, the euphoria and well-being that humans achieve from swimming with dolphins, dolphin dreams, and the like. I went quickly through those pages, but I ate up the science stuff.
The complexity of the dolphin brain, its very different way of perceiving the world, particularly through echolocation, is highly inspiring.
I did not know that the US Navy uses Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) that turns out to be a highly destructive technology that causes extreme suffering, bleeding, disorientation and permanent physical damage, including death, to cetaceans. The navy just started using this technology in 2003, when this book was written, and it was not being deterred by animal rights activism and scientists. I don’t know what the navy has done with LFAS since, but if it has applied it as planned, there must be carnage out there now. I need to do online research to confirm this.
DeMares’ book is a must-read for anyone interested in cetaceans, cetacean intelligence, alien linguistics and alien studies (since I consider dolphins aliens in a true sense of the word).
I have made jokes about his: We humans always wonder what it would be like if aliens landed on earth. They clearly would not speak English. Would we be able to communicate? Absolutely not. We have aliens living in our midst, all over the oceans, the cetaceans. They are just as smart as we are, yet very few humans have ever had anything resembling a conversation with a dolphin. We have walked this earth, if you include our earliest ancestors climbing on trees in Africa, for about 6 million years. Cetaceans have been here for 20 to 50 million years. Yet, we have no connection with them.
DeMares has helped with positive progress in this quest with Dolphins, Myth & Transformation.
One thought on “Book Review: Dolphins, Myths & Transformation – by Ryan DeMares”
Interesting. After doing my senior project on dolphins I haven’t thought much about them since. All I remember from swimming with them is their overwhelming strength that was actually quite intimidating. I unfortunately never experienced euphoria. I’d like to read this book!