|Dolphins are the only marine animals that smile|
(photo by Naotake Murayama)
Noun. Mid-19th century. Also cetaphilia.
[from cetacean, cetology modern Latin Cetacea, from Latin cetus from Greek ketos whale + -philia fondness, from Greek.]
A paraphilia in which a person is attracted to whales, dolphins, and other cetaceans. M19
The belief that one has connected emotionally with such a cetacean. L19
The supposed predilection for humans to do so. E20
|"I am not a pervert."|
While it's tempting to roll one's eyes at the sheer lunacy of some people, there has long been a belief that humans are natural cetophiles. In classic art, for example, the Roman match-maker god Cupid is often depicted with a dolphin as he roams the land and sea, bow in hand, forming connections between humans and cetaceans. Such unions were not always well-reported on, however. Centuries earlier, Plato had warned against them saying: "Beware the allure of the dolphin beast, for once a man has looked deeply into its fishy eyes, he will be forever beholden to its heart, just as a woman to an oven."
|Cupid Riding on a Dolphin|
Erasmus Quellinus ((1607-1678)
Such cetaceous shenanigans can't be written off as just a quirk of those nutty Greeks. In fact, aquariums and sea parks around the world consistently issue guidelines to their trainers to prevent the forming of inappropriate relationships. Measures have included trainers only working with cetaceans of the same sex and restrictions on staff working overtime at night with dolphins. "It's not just the trainers we have to protect," said Juan Maramor of the Colorado Cetasanctuary. "The dolphins themselves can be left heartbroken if a trainer has to break off a relationship because of pressure from the wife. And these are powerful creatures. Even experienced trainers forget how aggressive dolphins can be when jealous, such as they see their trainer cavorting with another mammal of any species."
|The dolphin's larynx is incontrovertible proof it evolved from humans|
(image by WikipediaProlific)
That such seemingly human connections are possible in cetaceans is only now being understood by scientists working in the field of cetology. "It's a fallacy that humans are the pinnacle of evolutionary development," wrote Dr Ivor Finn, Head Cerebralist at the Dunsk Underwater Marine Biolab. His 2009 monograph, Cetacean Elation - Why Dolphin Women Are Better, states: "The truth is that dolphins evolved directly from humans, evidenced by the fact that they have a larynx. This proves that at one time dolphins were capable of human speech. Unfortunately, as happens with so many languages, standards of grammar and pronunciation were allowed to slip within the pods, and thus delphinic languages regressed to what is now colloquially known as click speak."
Dr Finn's language-regression hypothesis is controversial, but there is broad consensus among cetologists that delphinic language is incomparably complex. "They say things like 'There are some good fish over here', or 'Watch out for that shark - he's hunting," says Sarah Waller, a bottle-nose dolphin research in California. Dr Finn takes it one stage further: "What you're seeing when you watch dolphins and orcas balance balls on their noses and walk on their tails is a modified mating ritual - these are things they do in the wild when they fall in love. If these incredible, caring, sensual creatures display such behaviour and have the ability to express affection and tenderness (as I know from experience), is it really beyond the realms of possibility that they can fall in love, just as can one simple man of science?"
|Dolphins swim alongside ships as they try to find a mate|
(photo by Docklands Tony)
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