Ocean Giants (BBC) - Deep Thinkers (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
ANOTHER week, another set of marvellous images from the BBC this time featuring dolphins and their high intelligence.
Just as last week’s first episode dazzled us with the feeding habits and mating rituals of whales, so this follow-up examined the notion that both dolphins and whales were possibly more intelligent than us.
Indeed, Bahamas-based Professor Denise Herzing believes that she will be able to hold a conversation with wild dolphins in their own language within five years.
Providing further evidence of this were various examples, including footage of dolphins off the western coast of Australia stealing octopus from stingrays – primarily because their own tracking devices were rendered useless by the underwater vegetation.
Hence, it watched and waited while the [potentially deadly] string-rays found and displaced the food, before snapping it up and ruining their hard work.
On a lighter, more playful note was the sight of dolphins playing with a bubble-machine to test the dolphins’ curiosity. The images of dolphins toying with bubble rings were stunning.
There were several other examples, including one dolphin using a sand-trap to effectively ambush its prey into jumpting into its mouth, while others – again Australia – ventured perilously close to the shoreline to nab shark-fleeing fish.
The whales, meanwhile, weighed in with their own highly intelligent feeding habits and routines.
Perhaps most stunning of all in an episode not short of spectacle was footage of Alaskan humpbacks forming alliances – or lifelong friendships – in which individuals pooled their talents to round up fish… effectively circling them before rising from below to fill their stomachs.
But then there was the notion of once ferocious [and defensive] Mexican grey whales seemingly being able to empathize with humans and forgive them by allowing them to hug and kiss them.
Admittedly, the notion of hugging a whale from the potentially unstable bow of a boat seemed dangerously close to madness, but there’s no denying that the whales seemed to be encouraging and even responding to such inter-species relations.
The most dazzling aspect of this episode, though, was how the BBC once again managed to combine jaw-dropping spectacle with information that made you think. It was a thought-provoking episode in all senses of the term…