Planet Waves | Dolphinity | By Christopher Grosso



Underwater sonic testing threatens dolphin life.
But does threatening dolphin life threaten
the future of planetary evolution?

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By Christopher Grosso
Planet Waves Digital Media

.......The Atlantic shores of the United States are seeing an unusual number of dolphins washing up, from Rhode Island to Florida. Since early November dozens have been found dead on the beaches along the entire Eastern Seaboard.

.......Usually, "one or none" are found on the shore of New England in a given year, according to marine researcher David St. Aubin, out of Mystic, Connecticut. "The change in the pattern is what has caught our attention," he said.

.......Approximately 25 dolphin carcasses were found along the Florida Keys. In one instance, over 100 dolphins had crowded into a lagoon at Long Key, where the Coast Guard was called in to help move them back out to sea. Volunteers poured into the area, once word spread, to help in the rescue efforts, and to comfort the ones that remained stranded. People in kayaks, feeding them fish while they paddled away from the shore, led some of the dolphins out to sea.

.......One volunteer said one of the dolphins died in her arms as she held it. "They're not afraid of you," she said.

.......The cause of the strange behavior is being called "unknown," with speculations ranging from infections, viruses and biological toxins, like "red tide" algae, perhaps further out at sea. Tissue tests are pending.

.......It has been more than ten years since an outbreak of a distemper virus in the dolphin and porpoise population killed nearly 1,500 of the species, from Florida to New Jersey. A Miami marine mammal veterinarian says "It may be just the tip of the iceberg."

.......But there's also speculation that United States military activity may be triggering the behavior.

.......The US Navy, and governments of other countries, have been testing Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) systems in the world's oceans for several years. Sonar uses sound waves that directly interfere with, and attack, the navigation, communication and sensory systems of marine mammals, which are based on use of sound waves of similar frequencies.

...... But a recent go-ahead from the National Marine Fisheries Service to harass marine mammals heightens the suspicion that the Navy has permanently deployed LFAS. Incidentally, "harassment" is industry language meaning an "act of torment which has the potential to injure a marine mammal in the wild . . . or disturb migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding or sheltering."

.......LFAS is an underwater technology by which the Navy has been tracking nuclear submarines. A sonar "array" is dragged below the surface of the ocean, emitting pulses of low-frequency sound waves, which echo through the water and bounce off objects and return back to the source on the surface. The data is converted into measurements of the distance and location of objects in the sea, much like the internal echo-location systems used by cetaceans (marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises) to communicate with one another and find their food.

.......Some of these tests create high-impact sound through explosions and other means that can resonate throughout an entire ocean and beyond. Because water is denser than air, sound travels faster, farther and with greater impact than it does above the water.

.......In addition, the super-fast microprocessors the Navy uses to analyze the data may approach the speed of the dolphin brain, possibly creating further interferance.

.......The problem is LFAS is not only disruptive to the cetaceans, but also destructive, leading to mass strandings of whales and dolphins. Tests conducted by NATO in Greece in 1996 beached at least a dozen Cuvier beaked whales from the Mediterranean Sea. Cuviers are a deep-diving species that rarely beach themselves.

.......The same technology, called acoustic thermometry, is foolishly used for measuring global warming patterns. The sonar is used to detect the thermal changes in ocean currents. "Foolish" because, as marine biologist Lindy Weilgart explains, the research can be conducted using less destructive devices, like, say, thermometers. In Hawaii at least three cetacean calves were reportedly abandoned. 80% of humpback whales stopped singing, and blue and fin whales decreased their vocalizations during the tests. Gray whales began changing their migratory patterns, according to the Ocean Mammal Institute.

.......The tests were conducted using decibel levels between 140 and 203. But the dB level of actual military deployment of the sonar is calculated to be 246, a level the Institute says generates sound with an acoustic intensity of 20,000 times that of 203dB test level.

.......The Navy plans to deploy four LFAS systems worldwide by 2004. The sound waves of the permanent deployment will fill thousands of square miles of ocean at a given moment.

.......The Navy is focused on LFAS because of its far reach, traveling long distances before it dissipates. Prior to LFAS, the Navy used "passive" sonar for sub detection. But neither active nor passive sonar is necessary to detect subs, Weilgart says. Less pervasive and expensive means are available.

.......The process by which the Navy gained a permit for the deployments is under question as well. They reportedly applied for the permit from the National Mammal Fisheries Service only two weeks after releasing the Environmental Impact Statement (which, like most documents of its variety, is profoundly inaccurate, according to planet guardians) to the public for review. In other words, the public had no time to thoroughly review the statement and make its own sound waves through channels of public response, public hearings, and so on.

.......Clearly, our tendency to invest our ingenuity, time and economic resources in defending small pockets of ourselves has taken an enormous toll on every species within earshot of us.

.......Let's try this: Let's use our incredibly powerful imaginations, for just a moment, to consider our own evolution as a species.

.......There are a few among us who entertain the notion that humanity is still in the process of evolving. In other words, evolutionarily, we're still pretty bloody inside; we're not done developing yet, though the collective consciousness of the family operates as if we were. In the book Ishmael, Daniel Quinn describes the protagonist traveling millions of years back in time to find an arrogant Portuguese man-of-war who couldn't conceive of a species more complex than himself. The jellyfish is asked about his "creation myth," to which he replies with a step-by-step account of the preceding 10 to 15 million years of evolution.

......."' . . . But finally,' the creature said, pink with pride "the Jellyfish appeared.'"

.......Finally. Pink with pride.

.......So we're working here with the idea that humanity is no more the "climax of the whole drama of creation" than was the appearance of the Portuguese man-of-war.

.......My old friend Kurt Vonnegut envisioned humanity's evolutionary destiny to be the beautiful and graceful manatee; that is, without the propeller gashes in its back. His empathic resonances with the manatee told him of a buoyant, heavenly, carefree existence.

.......And some believe our evolutionary advance leads to the state of dolphinity.

.......Hold on . . . This just in:

.......An astronomer in Great Britain has discovered what he thinks is another planet; this one, a thousand times the distance of Pluto--about three thousand billion miles from the Sun. That means a year for this planet would equal six million of ours. So it's way out there.

.......It's several times the size of Jupiter, which was the largest planet up to this point. The planet's discoverer says he believes it actually migrated to our solar system from another constellation. The reason, he says, is because the planet is orbiting in the opposite direction than the rest of us. So it's a far out, non-conformist, outcast of a planet. (In Group Dynamics class, this guy was called "the deviant," responsible for skewing the group's conscioussness just enough to make it functionally creative.)

.......The new planet's home constellation is Delphinus, or the Dolphin. And that may be significant as well. Some believe dolphins are much more highly evolved creatures than even human beings. There's some indication they are "whole-brained," meaning the right and left hemispheres are more perfectly balanced, with neither side being dominant. Dolphins process information at hyper-speed, compared to humans. And it seems their built-in sonar systems give them an unusual talent for locating trauma points in the human body, which could be hidden causes of ailments. All of this effectively makes dolphins "healers" of sorts . . .

.......Excuse me. I was saying about the evolution thing. Dolphinity.

.......Dolphins may be ahead of us on the evolutionary path, and here's why: First of all, they are not fearful creatures. Eh? Ring a bell? I mean look at them. They're always smiling.

.......And second, from a more "scientific" perspective, the hypothalamus, which corresponds to the autonomic nervous system and "instincts."

.......The human hypothalamus occupies 4.00% of the brain weight, to the dolphin's 0.17%. The point is that humans use more than twice as much energy fueling their more primitive instinctual programs than dolphins. Unlike humans, everything isn't done for them. Dolphins consciously regulate each breath they take, and move blood to specific areas of their bodies, such as when they dive. They're said to be "whole brained," rather than having proclivities toward "left-brain" or "right-brain," like humans, because they're able to perfectly balance the activity of both. One side does not dominate another. On the rare occasions when we see a human with this trait, we say: "Look! It's the Christ!"

.......Generally, as the intelligence of a creature rises, the nerve cells in the cortex become less dense, to make room for more dendrites. The nerve cell density (called the "grey-cell-coefficient") in Humans is the lowest of all other animals, except the Pilotwhale (a kind of dolphin). The grey-cell-coefficent in both Humans and Pilotwhales is identical.

.......The kicker is the part of the brain that produces the neurotransmitters, called "black brain substance." It is here scientists are able to determine how long it took for each species to reach the Primate stage of evolution. Humans hit that mile-marker of brain complexity about one hundred thousand years ago. Dolphins apparently reached it about ten million years ago. So dolphins have been where we're going. See?

.......So . . . the point of this whole article, I'm beginning to realize, is to formulate, and confront, a single question: Is it possible to wipe out our future evolutionary form and substance?

.......To pull it into perspective, let's imagine, say, all the gorillas in the world-all precious few of them-having a burst of ingenuity, during the solar eclipse, that gifts them with insight that enables them to cross-breed banana trees with such precision of intentionality that they come up with these gargantuan sequoia-sized banana trees, with proportionate fruits dangling from the tops there. Let's say not only are the bananas as big as, say, dolphins, but they're packed with vital nutrients, amino acids and proteins.

.......So their brains begin to develop quickly, their evolutionary path along time is greatly shortened, and they begin to cross that span we think exists between gorillas and ourselves, while we're looking over our shoulders, going "What the hell . . .?!"

.......Not only that, but the enormous levels of amino acids and proteins in the cetacean-sized bananas break down in the digestive tracts of the bigger and bigger gorillas to produce byproducts of mega-methane gases. Flatulence. You know: wind.

.......Gorilla-stinkers that literally knock us humans out cold every time they reach for a banana.

.......Eventually, the human species dies out prematurely, in our hypothetical imagery, as do the big farting-ass gorillas because they wipe out their bridges (us) to their own future. So the whole evolutionary web connecting gorillas and humans is dissolved in one stinky instant of Gorilla ingenuity, ill-united with violent, defensive overindulgence.

....... Is it possible to wipe out our future evolutionary form and substance? It would seem the answer to the question is "yes."++

To learn more, check out the links:
Dolphin Research Center
Tursiops Page
Cranial Sacral Therapy

Upledger Institute

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