Friday, August 3, 2012

Dolphins May Form Elite Socities Just Like Humans

A twenty-two year study suggests that dolphins may form elite societies based on a learned cultural behavior that is shared with some but not all the dolphins in the pod.  They exhibited a tendency to associate with those most like themselves, which is, scientists believe, a “critical role in human (sub)cultures,” and “may be true for dolphin society as well.”

To read the full story:

Native Plant Walk at American Camp on Aug. 12

Join the San Juan Islands Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society and park staff in an exploration of the prairie landscape at American Camp on Sunday, August 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. Meet at the American Camp visitors’ center. Chief of Interpretation/Historian Mike Vouri and Chief of Resource Management Jerald Weaver will join the plant walk to discuss plans for restoring and managing the prairies at American Camp and Young Hill. The National Park Service is currently accepting public comments for their prairie stewardship plan. For more information on the San Juan Islands Chapter of the WNPS, or to coordinate carpooling, contact chapter secretary Madrona Murphy (360-468-2808, 

Are Dolphins the 2nd Smartest Animal?

Scientists doing research on dolphin brains have discovered similarities with human brains.  The new study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that certain genetic features have led to the convergent evolution of large brains and complex cognition in a handful of species, including dolphins and humans.

To read the complete article:

Visit San Juans Website

In case some of you don't know about this site, it is a great resource for you and your visitors.  It now has the "Scenic Byways" map, which can be downloaded or you can order a copy.

Protection of Southern Resident Orcas Challenged

The  Pacific Legal Foundation has challenged the endangered listing and protection of the Southern Resident pods saying that they are not genetically any different than any of the other thousands of orcas in the oceans and therefore do not deserve protection.  They believe the Southern Residents are an "unjustified subspecies" of orcas and believe that NOAA invented a subspecies for the Pacific Northwest.

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Death at Sea World

This article focuses on the author's view of what happened at Sea World in 2006 and 2010 when two orcas attacked their trainers killing one.  There is a 15 minute video of the 2006 event.  The orca had just been taken from her young calf and the calf was calling apparently greatly distressing the mother.