Smart Like A Dolphin

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!
 Day 14 - Smart Like A Dolphin - #doodlewashMay2018 - Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!

Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
23 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 2 months ago

    Nice dolphin, Charlie.

  2. Lisa 2 months ago

    42! 😂

  3. SnehLata Maheshwari 2 months ago

    Aaaaaa super 🌸💐 dolphin.
    I saw dolphin so close to see her innocence Face i can’t explain.beautifu.
    Lie thanks.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 I’m so pleased you liked her!

  4. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    Fantastic Dolphin! Wish I’d had the chance to do a painting for this prompt. I may have to do one later. I think one of the problems with deciding whether animals are intelligent is that we really have never defined what intelligence is. I’ve read a lot about Koko the gorilla, who was taught sign language, and the objections that many scientists made, if applied to humans, would indicate that only people over three years old were actually intelligent. Who knows, maybe they’re right, but I rather suspect we just aren’t all that intelligent ourselves.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 You should totally still DO a dolphin! I’d love to see it. And yeah, I don’t think we are intelligent enough to fully define intelligence yet. hehe… there are definitely other forms we’ve not figured out.

  5. Rod Fletcher 2 months ago

    Hear hear Sandra! I dont know of any other animal who is stupid enough to kill off the natural resources that keep them alive. But there we go, we won’t learn. Nice picture Charlie. Wasn’t there a TV show about Flipper the seal? A bit like Lassie the dolphin was smart but only a child could interpret it’s meaning. Maybe the lesson is, keep life simple like a child’s and all will be well.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      So true, Rod! If we were so smart, then why would we do what we do to our own home. 😉 And yes, Flipper was a wonderful show! And that’s definitely the best lesson we could take away from all of it! 😃💕

  6. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    I agree with everything you said about dolphins and their intelligence. They are also charming, social, and lovely to look at as they glide through the ocean. Dolphins in the wild (where they should be allowed to stay) always make me smile! You painting captures a bit of their wonderfulness!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, dolphins are such extraordinary creatures. They don’t need us at all to be their normal happy selves.

  7. Everytime i read your posts i realise how much we’re on the same “longeur d’onde”. (Ask your hubby to translate that for you) Hitchhikers guide… was one of my favourite books growing up and i just read it again when i passed it onto my son, I find it much funnier now! I believe we might be the smartest beings on earth but we don’t use our intelligence wisely as we’re too self centered. Love your painted dolphin, he looks really smart!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 And yes it would seem that we’ve on the same wavelength! hehe Those books brought me so much joy… I at least felt a bit more intelligent while reading them. 😉

  8. Ellie 2 months ago

    Douglas Adams!! What a wonderful writer he was. Great dolphin – Thanks for all the watercolors, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Ellie! 😃💕And yes! Adams was one of the best!

  9. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 months ago

    Hello and thanks for all the pics! Yes, dolphins figure in all kinds of wonderful dreams and imaginary scenarios. Truly wonderful creatures and you painted this happy fellow very well.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 I find dolphins incredibly difficult… which is not something I should even be able to say as this is only my second attempt. But they are truly awesome creature!

  10. Sarah 2 months ago

    Beautiful dolphin, Charlie! I bet I can hear it giggling in its unique dolphin way. 😉 I adore Douglas Adams!! Immediately thought of him when you mentioned the intelligence of dolphins and then you mentioned him too, so this is a perfect post for me. 😉 <3

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕Ah so cool you’re an Adams fan as well! So smart and funny! Makes me want to go back and re-read those books again soon!

      • Sarah 2 months ago

        It never gets boring to re-read them, right? 😉

  11. smzang 2 months ago

    I’m not sure we are the most intelligent species on this planet, but if we are,
    we have certainly made a fine mess of things.

    I love that dolphin!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 yeah, if we are the smartest, that’s equally concerning… hehe

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