Won’t somebody think of the children?

July 22, 2015 • 3:28 pm

by Grania

No Republicans or ultra-Conservative Christian groups are going to be worried terribly much about this case though. However it seems that at least one other mammalian species is “redefining traditional relationships”.

There’s an interesting article by Colin Barras  in New Scientist on mixed-species dolphin groups in the Bahamas. Although interaction between dolphin species is not unknown (Jerry’s written about this before), apparently this level of interaction is “unprecedented“.

Atlantic bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and spotted (Stenella frontalis) dolphins play, forage, babysit, fight common foes and even engage in cross-species sex.

The research is being done at the Wild Dolphin Project and you can read or download the  publication by Denise Herzing and Cindy Elliser on the subject here.

It’s not always harmony and cooperation though. Barras notes:

Bottlenose males are about twice as long as spotted males and sometimes exploit this to force their way into groups of spotted dolphins and mate with females. Elliser and Herzing found that male spotted dolphins can fend them off, but only by cooperating in very large groups (Marine Mammal Science, doi.org/583).

Image: David Fleetham/Naturepl.com

38 thoughts on “Won’t somebody think of the children?

  1. Perverts in every species; I mean, really? Mating with a related species? It makes you think of how Hom Sap got to be where they are today. Eventually, when the dolphonoids take over the world – well the land crust is shrinking – they will look back on us landbased forms as being ‘primitive’!

    1. Not just a different species, a different genus. Makes me wonder about dolphin cladistics. I need to do some reading tonight. They look and apparently act so similarly – why not the same genus?

    2. I read an account a year or so ago from Indonesia of an orangutang which had been captured from demolished forest and enslaved in a brothel. Apparently, she didn’t seem to be totally ecstatic about the turn of fortune.
      Actually, I don’t recall the article being explicit about the gender of the orangutang. The paying customers were human males.

  2. Well, we did it. As I would remind you, all of us who have European ancestry have up to around 4% Neanderthal DNA. Even conservative Republicans. I wonder if that happened before or after we got souls? 🙂

      1. They’re not now, but I think they might well have been classified as distinct before ~300,000 years of isolation came to an end. Species boundaries are artifacts of time and geography, which don’t stand still.

          1. As someone who’s run (as Stallman would have it) Gnu-Linux for a decade, I’m a bit disconcerted at this usage of ‘Gnu’. What does it stand for anyway?

            (It’s well-known what ‘Gnu’ stands for in computing circles – a recursive acronym – GNU’s Not Unix of course).


            1. As someone replying from a laptop with Ubuntu on top of CoreBoot firmware, this is a reference to two 1950s songwriters making up a song about a gnu, otherwise known as a wildebeeste, an east African bovine. After a 20 minute digression into interior decoration, song was prompted about gnus.
              I suspect, though I don’t know for sure, that Stallman or someone in the early echelons of the Free Software Foundation, is a Flanders and Swann fan, for they are the songsmiths and The Gnu is the song.

              1. Indeed, from the Wikipedia page:
                “Richard Stallman mentions “The Gnu” in connection with the naming of the GNU project in a 2002 interview.”

                (Mine’s Debian, though I occasionally install some other distro in a spare partition for the sake of fiddling.

                I started with Red Hat when Windoze 3.1 got too old to use on the Intertoobz (8.3 filenames!) and I wasn’t going to pay $$$ for the crawling multicrashing horror that was Win95. I changed to Debian shortly thereafter.)


              2. I was actually debating with myself whether to BUY a copy of Xenix (Microsoft’s brought-in SVR4-alike, based on BSD, IIRC) or possibly another Unix-a-like (Coherent?) when I heard about Linux and Minix. Obviously I had to wait until I had a phone line before I could consider downloading it. Or ordering a CD online. Or even going online.

              3. You don’t need a phone line, for years I ran exclusively on CD/DVD sets (my phone was a crackling-you-could-hear-in-the-earpiece 56k horror till 3 or 4 years ago). It was only a few months ago I did my first install via the net.


              4. I actually had to get a CD drive for reading Linux distribution CDs. That involved an expensive and not very fruitful sidetrack into both SCSI and VL-bus. I’m a good bellweather for competing hardware standards : if I jump one way at a hardware dichotomy, you can be fairly sure that it’s going to go the other way. When MFM/RLL drives were going out (I did call getting an RLL controller correct – it allowed me a 50% increase in my existing hard drives), I jumped SCSI, not IDE, specifically because of CD drives and CD-writers ; I missed USB when I invested in parallel-port Zip drives ; in the debate over VL-bus, PCI, or (there was another), I went VL-bus.
                These days, I know better. Bleeding edges are for other people.
                I may have to choose my next laptop with some fancy video card because a seismic interpretation application I’m trying to learn actually benefits from a graphics card with that “3d hardware acceleration” stuff, which would be the first time I’ve met it. I anticipate another disaster.

              5. Betamax was, thankfully, long dead before I brought a video player. And even more dead when I got a TV.

              6. @aidan

                Your mention of CD drives reminds me of the days of ‘drivers’, where every bit of hardware had to have its own software driver. And a real pain it was, specially with second-hand hardware (since the first thing any owner of new techy stuff does, is throw away any manuals/CDs/disks that may have come with it).

                When I first made an extra partition on my hard drive to install Linux in, I spent a day searching the Internet looking for a Linux driver to read my old Windows partition. When I found all I had to do was ‘mount’ it as FAT (?), I was most disconcerted. (Of course Linux had the necessary driver built in already).


              7. (since the first thing any owner of new techy stuff does, is throw away any manuals/CDs/disks that may have come with it).

                SOME of us slip the discs and manuals into a ziplock bag and tape it to the side/ back of the machine. And some of us have the wife continually rip the documentation bags off and tell us to “store them somewhere” when they are ALREADY stored in the most appropriate possible place.

              8. @Diane

                We of VHS anonymous are now wondering what to do with our 500+ VHS tapes…

                There seems to be no current use or recycling method for them (other than pointless boutique ‘craft’-y uses).


              9. I’m glad I stopped at a dozen or so tapes – couple of friend’s party videos, etc. The originals are on disc somewhere already.

  3. I think Jerry has also covered reverses in evolution in some species. I have a theory this may be happening within a specific group of our species in the new world at the republican level and specifically within the political group. It has caused large number of them to run for president and begin acting in extremely obnoxious behaviors. With any luck no one will dare mate with them.

    Sorry, I had to fit this in some way.

  4. I just want to make sure even though they mate there is no offspring because they genetics are too far apart?

  5. I think there are very specific caveats in the Bible about inter-species sex though that has never deterred the lonely camelherd, goatherd or shepherd.

      1. So they can breed. Therefore it wouldn’t be a challenge to fundamentalist. They would say “See there are the same kind”. Other examples are more stump-worthy.

Leave a Reply