When it comes to sea creatures, dolphins, our art challenge prompt for today, are definitely at the top of my list. They’re amazing and hold secrets that humans have still yet to decipher. And since we humans are always so fascinated to know if we’re the smartest animal on the planet, studies continue to see just how smart dolphins really are. It turns out they’re really quite smart, thought by some to be second only to humans and ahead of chimps when it comes to brain power. But, like most of our tests, we humans tend to judge everything based on ourselves. Since we’re not dolphins and cannot speak their intricate language of squeaks, pops and chirps, most claim they don’t possess a true language capable of highly cognitive or abstract thought. But it’s equally possible that while we are enjoying those little sounds as something quaint and wonderful, they’re having a deep conversation about physics or mathematics. In truth, we just don’t really know for certain. That, to me, is what makes them so intriguing.
In high school during the 80’s one of my favorite authors was Douglas Adams who wrote humorous science fiction. In his 4th book, in an increasingly poorly named “trilogy” called The Hitcherhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the earth was doomed to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The dolphins all mysteriously knew this already and left the earth just before it was about to happen. They did try their hardest to warn humans, but these attempts were only seen as little amusements. The last dolphin to leave performed a double backward somersault while jumping through a hoop and whistling The Star-Spangled Banner. This final communication was once again sadly misinterpreted and the actual message was simply, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” I’ve had a profound respect for dolphins ever since.
Though many people are fascinated by the idea of higher intelligence on other planets, we humans, definitely prefer to be the smartest here on our own little planet. But I think the idea that we aren’t is a humbling and fascinating thought. When it comes to intelligence, it can come in many forms, even in humans. Creative and artistic intelligence is one form that is often largely misunderstood or deemed lesser than other versions, many of which require math. I was actually rather good at math, but never once had a real interest in it. But, I do think we share the planet with extremely smart and talent species that might actually be trying to tell us something. Probably just another simple message to take care of this earth and leave it as we found it. Another bit of communication, we’ve wildly misinterpreted. So I wouldn’t mind if one day we found out that we weren’t the smartest species on this planet. Until then, I can do my best to make wise choices, stiving to be smart like a dolphin.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!