It is finally official. The human race is about to face its final downfall. But, contrary to popular belief, the apocalypse will not come with nuclear destruction or asteroid — it will come with something far more insidious. The odontocetes are coming for us. Dolphins are about to rise up and wipe humans from the face of the Earth.
The Telegraph reported Jan. 31 an orca named Wikie is able to copy its trainer’s speech by manipulating the noises that come out of its blowhole. Wikie is believed to be the first orca to demonstrate this behavior, adding them to a list of human speech imitators that includes dolphins.
As we all know, the late sci-fi author Douglas Adams first predicted the rise of our new dolphin overlords way back in 1979 with the publication of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” He described their superiority as such: “Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.”
When the discovery of Wikie’s newfound abilities is put in context with the remarkable intelligence that dolphins already exhibit, the truth becomes clear. We are obviously inferior and almost certainly doomed, just as Adams predicted.
Dolphins are capable of successfully hunting both in packs and individually, and they have demonstrated the ability to use tools and deception to outsmart prey and humans. One particular dolphin, Kelly, was trained to clean up her own tank by being rewarded for depositing trash in a special container, according to the Guardian. She realized that she only received one fish for each batch of paper, so she managed to build up a stockpile of trash and turns it in piecemeal in order to get more fish overall. She has even managed to lure gulls into her tank with fish and catch and return them for even more fish.
Kelly is just one domesticated example of how brilliant dolphins and similar toothed whales can be.
Just imagine the advances dolphin culture has made in the wild, unrestricted by lowly human demands for entertainment by punching footballs and performing in shows. Multiple studies show dolphins organize themselves into distinct communities with varying accents and cultural norms, along with other signs of near-civilization. And of course, we remain ignorant about the vast majority of what goes on in the ocean. That includes the possibility of a fully-formed dolphin civilization with the tools to supplant humanity as the world’s rulers.
We understand dolphins to be little more than complex creatures that can do a few cool tricks. It is not crazy to think that they may think the same of us.
Perhaps the most devious sign of an impending dolphin takeover lies in their own infiltration of our culture.
Dolphins first infiltrated our pop culture with Flipper throughout the ‘60s. She inspired two different TV shows and two full-fledged Hollywood productions. Her grave is even a marked roadside attraction in Florida.
Now that orcas have joined the ranks of hyper intelligent animals, the pop culture infiltration is almost too crystal clear to ignore.
The Free Willy series captured hearts across America and beyond through the mid ‘90s, and even greater are the effects of show orcas. The now-infamous orca shows at parks like SeaWorld further entrenched an entire species in humanity’s good graces, allowing them to develop under less scrutiny. By the time we started to catch on, the Blackfish documentary came out and caused even more sympathy and allowed more orcas to be returned to their natural habitats to conspire against humanity.
They have us right where they want us.
Adams tried to warn us nearly 30 years ago, but it won’t be enough. They have our sympathy and complete ignorance of their environment and development into complex individuals and societies. We have destroyed their environments and taken their loved ones into slavery. It is only a matter of time before the tides turn in their favor.
Jonah Baker can be reached at arg-opinion.edu or on Twitter @jonahpbaker