EXCERPT: 'Dolphin Diaries,' a Groundbreaking Glimpse Into How Dolphins Communicate and Live

PHOTO: Shown here is "In Dolphin Diaries: My Twenty-Five Years with Spotted Dolphins in the Bahamas" book cover.
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Dr. Denise Herzing has spent the past 25 years of her life immersed under the sea, immersed with a pod of wild spotted dolphins just off the coast of the Bahamas, to be precise. In those 25 years, Herzing has become like a member of the pod herself, forging strong ties with three generations of the playful animals that amuse us with their above-water tricks, engage us with their desire for human touch and intrigue us with their intelligence.

Her new book, "Dolphin Diaries: My 25 Years with Spotted Dolphins in the Bahamas," is like taking a voyage into an underwater aquarium with Herzing as the guide. The author, scientist and founder of the Wild Dolphin Project gives readers a firsthand account of her research and the intimate moments she witnessed and recorded her fellow pod-mates feeding, playing, fighting, mating, giving birth and struggling with environmental changes.

Most intriguingly, "Dolphin Diaries" also provides a glimpse into the dolphins' intricate language, the vocalizations, rhythmic posturing and signature whistles that captivate even onlookers far away on shore. Herzing's groundbreaking research, still underway in the Bahamas, includes interacting with the dolphins through an underwater keyboard for two-way communication, all in an effort to close the communication gap between humans and other species

"The deciphering of a nonhuman species language could be one of our greatest feats," Herzing writes. "It may yet be our best training ground for exploring the cosmos for other life, for if we can't understand and interact with life on this planet then there is no hope for our exploration of the galaxy."

Read an excerpt from "Dolphin Diaries: My 25 Years with Spotted Dolphins in the Bahamas" below, then check out other books in the "GMA" library.

Introduction

In wildness is the preservation of the world. —Henry David Thoreau, Walking, 1862

I have been privileged to work with some of the most intelligent animals on the planet— dolphins. More than two de cades ago I came to this remote location in the northern Bahamas with hopes of finding a long- term research site to observe dolphins underwater and eventually attempt interspecies communication with a wild pod of dolphins. As a behavioral and marine biologist, I have observed three generations of dolphin families. This book is about that resident community of Atlantic spotted dolphins, Stenella frontalis. I have resided in their world for the last twenty- fi ve summers, tracking the lives, deaths, and births of more than two hundred individual spotted dolphins and two hundred bottlenose dolphins, watching them grow up, have fi ghts, develop friendships, and take on the responsibilities within their wild dolphin society.

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