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Historical Perspectives: Birthing a Dolphin Research Laboratory: The Early History of the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory



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Aquatic Mammals 2012, 38(1), 102-125, DOI 10.1578/AM.38.1.2012.102
Historical Perspectives
Louis M. Herman
Today, there are clear, well-defined paths to
becoming a marine mammal scientist: special-
ized academic programs, graduate assistantships,
internships, a supportive professional society, ded-
icated scientific journals, job opportunities with
government and private institutions, and much
more—all help to prepare and guide the student
toward a career as a marine mammal scientist.
But in the 1960s, when I began my career, almost
none of these opportunities or structures existed.
The paths to becoming a marine mammal scientist
were poorly defined at best, and sometimes it was
only through a confluence of chance sprinkled
with a little choice that one arrived at that goal.
What follows then is the story of the meandering
path I took toward that goal, a route whose final
destination could not have been foreseen.
Fig. 1
Figure 1. Lou Herman and the dolphin Phoenix at the KBMML pools (ca. 1985)
103 Historical Perspectives
Birthing a Dolphin Research Laboratory:
The Early History of the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory
Louis M. Herman
The Dolphin Institute, 420 Ward Avenue, Suite 212, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
The Harbor
Turning left off of busy Ala Moana Boulevard,
I steered my ‘57 VW beetle into Kewalo Basin
Harbor. I enjoyed that little bug: ten years old, a
stick shift, and almost maintenance free. And with a
soft-vinyl sunroof that slid all the way back so that
when I wanted to try my novice hand at surfing, I
could prop my Hobie inside. I wasn’t on my way
to surfing, though. I was on the hunt for a dolphin
laboratory—not an existing one, but a place where
I might create one with the funds promised me.
Kewalo Basin Harbor is nestled snugly between
Waikiki and downtown Honolulu—a smallish rect-
angular harbor of about 55 acres built in the 1920s
to accommodate lumber schooners, now long
extinct, as is the lumber trade. Now the harbor was
filled with an assortment of small- to medium-sized
boats. As I drove parallel to Ala Moana Boulevard
along the mauka side (mountain-facing side) of the
roadway that wrapped around the harbor, I passed
by a fleet of small charter fishing boats. One had Ahi
flukes pinned to its signboard offering the promise
of big game fish. The irony struck me—using a fish
to lure a person. Many of these charter boats had
flying bridges: The captain could drive and scan
from the heights for the shadowy forms of fast-
swimming mahi or yellow-fin tuna. Several larger-
sized tour boats were there as well. Their enclosed
lower deck and open upper deck gave tourists the
choice of basking in the sun or enjoying a cold beer
below as they looked forward to their first view of
Pearl Harbor or of Diamond Head from its ocean
side. A sign read, “Join a dinner cruise and dance
with a Hawaiian band—6 pm.
Looking south across the harbor to its makai
(“ocean”) side, sheltered from the waves by a
sloping rock wall, I could see a few old wooden
Sampan fishing boats. These trolled for Aku (skip-
jack tuna) using poles and live bait, a technique
on its way out at that time, displaced by the steel-
hulled long-liners moving in and monopolizing
the fishery. A worker armed with a bristle brush
was challenging the rust on one of these boats.
A rank odor from the Hawaiian Tuna Packing
Plant at the harbor’s west end now invaded my
open windows, carried on the gusty Kona winds
that at times displaced the northeasterly trades. I
continued along the east side of the harbor, pass-
ing by a large marine supply store, a sail-maker’s
shop, a net-drying shed, a hole-in-the wall eatery,
a small marine fuel station, and finally paused
next to a long fence of overlapping redwood slats
at the harbor’s southeast corner. The fence was
perched atop a three-foot-high concrete wall that
wrapped around a large rectangular enclosure I
estimated to be more than 100-feet long. Curious
as to what this place might be, I exited my car and
peered through a knothole. Inside, I could see two
large, circular concrete structures that seemed to
fill most of the enclosure. Okay, it’s worth asking,
I thought, remembering, though, how many other
promising places I had looked at and asked about
to no avail—either not suitable or not available. I
walked over to a small hollow-tile building front-
ing the north end of the enclosure and knocked on
the door, thinking, “Wela, this wild-goose chase is
all your doing.”
A middle-aged gentleman dressed “Hawaiian-
style” in khaki shorts, flowered Aloha shirt, and
“slippahs,” answered my knock. I told him about
Fig. 2
Figure 2. Aerial view of Kewalo Basin Harbor and vicinity,
ca. 1982; the twin pools of the Kewalo Basin Marine
Mammal Laboratory are near the center of the photo.
Ala Moana Beach Park lies immediately to the left (east) of
the lab and the harbor to the right (west).
104 Herman
my search and asked about those concrete struc-
tures I had spied. He invited me in. I could see
now that they were twin circular pools, quite
large, arranged along the length of the facility
but separated from each other by about ten feet.
I strolled over to the nearer pool. The walls rose
about three feet above the surrounding concrete
deck and about two feet below. I expected to see
water inside, but it was completely dry; strewn
about the floor were large mooring lines, buoys,
anchors, and a variety of other marine equipment,
as if the pool was simply a large, open-air closet.
I turned to my host with a questioning look. “This
place,” he explained, referring to the entire enclo-
sure with a sweep of his arm, “is simply a conve-
nient office and storage space for the University of
Hawaii ship operations berthed just outside.
And what about these two pools?” I asked.
“That’s an interesting story,” he said, smiling.
He began by telling me the facility was built
in 1959 to exhibit sharks to paying visitors. The
owner collected the sharks locally by setting
large baited hooks at night just outside the harbor
entrance, near “Point Panic,” a favorite body-
boarding spot for many “locals. In the morning,
any hooked sharks still alive were placed in the
pools. My host pointed to an old pump room at the
rear of the facility, saying, “Seawater was pumped
into the pools directly from the ocean.He then
continued, saying that business wasn’t good—
folks were not likely to come back a second time
to see sharks simply swimming about. So, to spice
up the show, the owner approached young surfers
passing by on their way to the Kewalo’s surf break
and asked if they’d like to earn a few bucks. All
they’d have to do, he’d say, was “take a swim.
That challenge seemed hard for an adrenalin
junkie surfer “dude” to resist and business picked
up—temporarily. But the sharks were at times true
to their kind and the word soon spread that you do
not want to take a swim there.
My host pointed to stairs leading to a small,
dilapidated hut set atop a shed at the south end of
the facility. “It’s a great view,” he said. I climbed
up. The ocean was not more than 30 feet away,
wrapping around this southeast corner of the facil-
ity and fended off by a low rock wall. Southward,
the ocean extended to the horizon, punctuated
only by the waves breaking across the shallow
Kewalo’s reef some 100 yards offshore. To the east,
the ocean blended into a kilometer-long channel
that once served as the entranceway to the Ala Wai
Yacht Harbor about a mile away. The channel’s
sheltered waters were now a popular swimming
and canoeing site accessible from the adjoining
Ala Moana Beach Park. Beyond the yacht harbor,
farther yet to the east, lay the broad sweeping arc
that was Waikiki Beach, still relatively unmarred
by hotel development. And in the distant east rose
the iconic image of Diamond Head, the historic
gateway to Honolulu for arriving ships. I turned
and looked west toward the harbor, its potpourri of
boats, the large seafood restaurant bordering the
harbor’s west end and named after Fisherman’s
Wharf in San Francisco, and again caught a brief
whiff of the pungent odor from the tuna-packing
I recall vividly how the story ended: Without
the draw of the surfers, the owner went bank-
rupt and one day, quietly and unannounced, he
left the facility, the sharks, and the islands. Later,
when the smell of decaying flesh drifted over the
fence, the Harbor authorities broke in, found the
site abandoned, and eventually turned it over to
the University of Hawaii for their ship support.
“That’s us,” my host said.
He then surprised me by saying that the ship
operations would soon be relocating to Pier 18 at
the far side of downtown Honolulu. “We’re out of
here then,” he said.
Almost afraid to ask, I said hesitatingly, “Does
that mean this place will be available?”
“I suppose it does,” he said, but then added that
I should contact the Hawaii Institute of Marine
Biology as he’d already had inquiries from them
about using the facility for shark studies.
I thanked him for the tour, the story, and the
exciting news, and left the facility smiling and
excited, thinking what an ideal location for a dol-
phin laboratory. Outside, I looked again at the
harbor, the bordering ocean, and the silhouette
of Diamond Head in the distance. I strolled over
to Ala Moana Beach Park whose sands butted up
against the southeast side of the facility. I stud-
ied the quiet waters of the channel that ran the
length of the kilometer-long beach all the way to
a manmade spit of land called Magic Island, and I
thought how perfect it would be to be able to swim
there every day—if this facility were to become
my dolphin lab. And then I thought again about
Wela and how I had gotten to this point.
Sea Life Park
There’s a high bluff in east Honolulu, situated
where the south coast of Oahu bends to the east
and catches the gusty trade winds. A marine park
is perched on top, gazing out at the nearby Pacific
waters that create vistas of bottled-water-clear-
ocean above pristine white sand. The dark shad-
ows of coral reefs stretch their tongues into the
virgin sand creating stark contrasts with the white
sandy bottom. About 1,500 meters offshore lies
a strikingly shaped rocky islet known as Rabbit
Island, or Manana in Hawaiian. To me, its shape
mirrored the profile of a giant male sperm whale
105 Historical Perspectives
resting at the surface, its huge head protruding
high out of the water and its body tapering rear-
ward and downward to a small dorsal hump and
finally to a submerged tail. It should be called
Whale Island, I thought. But I once swam out to
that island together with others from our ocean
swim club, and there were rabbits.
Inside the Park, I watched four dolphins rise in
lockstep synchrony out of the waters of Whaler’s
Cove, curve their bodies at full height into grace-
ful arcs, and pierce the water on reentry with
their snouts, leaving behind only the faintest of
splashes—a perfect ten with a degree of difficulty
worthy of Greg Louganis’s best. I took in a deep
breath at this display of power and grace and at
the realization that I would soon be working with
a dolphin like those. I wondered how it would
go—my first venture into dolphin research. But
there was little time to ponder that question, for I
was about to be introduced to the young lady who
would be my dolphin collaborator in research. Her
name was Wela.
It was the summer of 1967, and I’d just com-
pleted my first academic year as a new Associate
Professor of Psychology at the University of
Hawaii. Accompanying me to Sea Life Park were
four student volunteers from a graduate seminar I
had been teaching that spring on research meth-
ods. We stood together in the Park’s training area
watching Wela, a female Pacific bottlenose dol-
phin of perhaps 8 to 10 years of age, glide effort-
lessly about her large oval-shaped seawater pool.
Each time she swam by, she peered up at us with a
sidelong glance from a large dark eye. We couldn’t
resist waving at her as she passed by.
A small cache of our research equipment
stood ready nearby: sound generators, amplifiers,
underwater speaker, digital logic boards, and cus-
tomized apparatus and stimuli. Now Wela was at
the far end of the pool, and we gently lowered the
apparatus into the water, marking the beginning of
a scientific project on dolphin intelligence that I
thought would be but a single summer’s fling into
that exotic topic. I never imagined that, instead,
it would mark the beginning of a 36-year journey
with dolphins and whales and a new career as a
marine mammal scientist.
An Unintended Career
As we placed the apparatus in the pool, I was lit-
erally and figuratively entering new waters, for I
was not yet a marine mammal scientist. Instead,
I was specialized through graduate training,
research, and work experiences in a field then
called human information processing—the study
of how we filter and choose among the stream of
Fig. 3
Figure 3. The entrance sign to Sea Life Park, Oahu
Fig. 4
Figure 4. Rabbit Island off of Sea Life Park with its profile
resembling a male sperm whale resting at the surface
Fig. 5
Figure 5. Wela’s pool in the training area at Sea Life Park,
the site of Lou Herman’s first dolphin study
106 Herman
stimuli that constantly reach our senses; how we
allocate our limited processing resources to the
selected inputs; how we encode, store, and retrieve
information from short- and long-term memory;
and how we select and organize responses and
achieve skill in performance. It was a new field
that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s
built in part on concepts borrowed from commu-
nication theory as pioneered by Claude Shannon
at Bell Laboratories (Shannon & Weaver, 1949).
My dissertation, completed at Penn State in 1961,
examined how humans process information in the
face of competing demands from two concurrent
auditory tasks, each needing real-time responses.
I had arrived at Penn State in the fall of 1957,
dragging a U-Haul trailer behind my seriously
underpowered ’53 Plymouth all the way from
Atlanta and across the challenging Allegheny
Mountains. Before that, I had spent nine months
in Atlanta at Emory University, assisting in stud-
ies of concept learning by Rhesus monkeys as part
of my training toward a Ph.D. in Experimental
Psychology. I enjoyed a student’s life in Atlanta,
living in a small studio apartment with my dog
Buster. But when the Psychology program slashed
the stipends for graduate students in half (to $700
per year), I decided to look elsewhere. Without the
stipend, I had only the Korean GI Bill for support,
earned after 45 months in the Air Force during and
after the Korean War, plus a little extra cash work-
ing as a weekend lifeguard at an Atlanta country
club. I applied to several graduate programs, and
when Penn State offered more than twice the
amount I had been receiving at Emory, I gladly
accepted. At summer’s end, I said a sad goodbye
to Buster, who I left in the care of a good friend,
and began my travel north.
I had spent most of my Air Force career as an
Intelligence Officer at Maxwell Air Force Base in
Montgomery, Alabama, assisting a civilian spe-
cialist, Albert Biderman, in debriefings of repa-
triated Air Force pilots shot down over Korea
or Manchuria. We were seeking to decipher the
“mysterious” Chinese methods of “brainwashing”
that had coerced some into false confessions of
germ warfare. We carried out extensive interviews
and related research, and ultimately concluded that
the methods were not mysterious at all. Instead,
they were mainly conventional interrogation tech-
niques: social and physical isolation, total control
of the prisoner’s every action, debasement, and
eventual dependence on the interrogators for every
physical and social need (see Biderman, 1963).
After the project ended, I considered continuing
in the Air Force and applied for transfer to another
unit where I heard that advancement in rank was
reportedly swifter. I was disappointed when the
transfer was denied, and I applied for release from
service with the intention of beginning graduate
work in experimental psychology. Things moved
quickly after that—on January 6, 1957, I was an
Air Force Officer on active duty, and on January 7,
I was a graduate student at Emory University.
I never regretted transferring from Emory to
Penn State, an oasis of learning and culture in
the mountainous, sparsely populated middle of
Pennsylvania. I met my future wife, Hannah,
there, a fellow graduate student. In the fall of 1961,
after I completed my degree and after Hannah and
I were married, we said goodbye to our friends
and to the little town of State College with its one
movie theatre, two diners, and three bars, boarded
my now well-powered ’59 Pontiac, and motored
westward, enjoying the journey, the sights, and
the freedom. I did need a job, though, and so we
meandered about the country, stopping at various
places that had expressed interest in interviewing
me for a position in “human factors engineering,
a field that seeks to optimize the performance of
the human operator in a man-machine system
such as the complex of a pilot and his aircraft.
At Columbus, Ohio, the human factors branch at
North American Aviation offered me a position,
starting almost immediately. I was to help devise
methods for improving a sonar operator’s ability
to correctly classify echo returns as “submarine”
or “whale, a task of surprising difficulty at that
time, and even for years afterwards (see Herman
et al., 1964). To me, at that time, a whale was just
a fuzzy blip on a sonar display. I had no prescience
that the study of whales, together with the study of
dolphins, would eventually define me as a marine
mammal scientist.
Getting to Hawaii
In 1962, as I sat at my desk at North American
Aviation contemplating sonar displays, the loud-
speaker blared out my name, saying I had a call
from Washington, DC, and it was from John
Kennedy! Excited and puzzled, I picked up the
phone, said my name, and heard a loud voice
exclaim, “Congratulations!” The caller then
identified himself as the executive director of
the American Psychological Association, saying,
amusedly, “I’m often confused with that other
John Kennedy.After I calmed down, he explained
that I was the winner of the first Creative Talent
Award from the American Institutes for Research
for the best dissertation in Psychology (see
Harlow et al., 1962). Moreover, he continued, the
award carried a prize of one thousand dollars! I
had to calm down again and then remembered that
my thesis advisor, Dr. John Corso, had graciously
nominated my dissertation for the award months
earlier, rather casually mentioning that to me.
107 Historical Perspectives
Later, I began to think about the significance
of the award and wondered whether it might be
a signal to take a path into more basic research,
something that could be done best in an academic
setting. The next spring at the regional meeting of
the Eastern Psychological Association at which I
gave an invited address on my award, I inquired
about academic positions, interviewed for sev-
eral, and was offered an Assistant Professorship
at Queens College in New York City at $8,500
for the academic year. That was several thou-
sand less than I was making at North American.
Nevertheless, I accepted the offer, and in early
September of 1963, Hannah and I resumed our
travels in the ’59 Pontiac, but headed eastward this
time to Queens College.
My time at Queens College lasted three aca-
demic years, ending abruptly when a vote for
the department chair went wrong. I had arrived
at Queens College during a period of growth
together with four or five other new Assistant
Professors of Psychology and was assigned to
teach courses in experimental psychology, statis-
tics, and a graduate seminar on information theory.
The department chair for the past 20 years was a
prominent psychologist born and educated until
the age of 20 in Russia, and specializing now in
Russian Psychology, from Pavlov onwards. As if
true to his roots, he ran the department like a Czar
over-lording his subjects, or so the “old guard”
who had been there all those years whispered to
us novices. The spring of 1966 came, and it was
time to elect a chair for the next three years. The
old guard whispered again that if we all voted
together, we could elect a new chair. Naively, we
bought into it, and when the “secret” ballots were
counted, the alternative candidate had won—
except for one small detail not whispered by the
old guard. The vote was but a recommendation to
the College President. He promptly reappointed
the old department chair, who, like an omniscient
Czar, seemed to know exactly who had voted how.
Suddenly, almost all the “newbies,” all untenured,
were out of a job. Dismayed, and with the spring
semester almost ending, I realized there were few
job opportunities this late in the academic recruit-
ing season. But, posted on a bulletin board, was a
notice that Hawaii was seeking an experimental
psychologist. The image of Hawaii at that time, in
the mid-1960s, at least to us Easterners, was that
of the prototypical Caribbean Island—warm sun,
white sand beaches, sparkling blue-green water,
palm trees, and not much else except maybe grass
skirts, Ukuleles, and Arthur Godfrey. Hannah,
who was working at a Queens College education
clinic, was advised by the “sophisticated” clinic
staff, “Hawaii? You don’t live there. You only
Nonetheless, I applied for the job, flew out for
an interview, was surprised by the mountains and
by the bustling city, and thought, “Well, I could
stay here a few years until something else turns
up.” I was offered an Associate Professorship and,
in August of 1966, Hannah and I again began a
trek westward, now in our 1966 Dodge Dart, all
the way to San Francisco, stopping everywhere
along the way, enjoying the dramatic parks of
the west and northwest, and finally camping in
the bowels of a giant redwood in Marin County
before making our way across the Golden Gate
Bridge to San Francisco. There, we shipped our
car to Hawaii on a Matson liner and sent ourselves
there on a Pan Am jet. The research equipment I
had gathered at Queens College under a National
Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study informa-
tion processing and human performance would
come separately, and the grant itself would be
transferred to Hawaii.
Hannah and I settled temporarily in a small walk-
up studio in east Waikiki, an area then referred to
as “The Jungle,” a jumble of old cottages, cheap
rentals, and a lot of 1960s’ “free-spirits.” From
there, it was only a short walk to Kaimana Beach
where I could swim in the ocean or in the 110-yard-
long natatorium built as a memorial to those who
served in World War I. Swimming there, I felt I
was in the spiritual presence of Johnny “Tarzan”
Weissmuller and Buster “Flash Gordon” Crabbe,
both Olympians and movie stars, who once raced
each other in that very pool in the late 1920s.
Swimming and beaches were a significant part
of my own natural history, and their lure was a
factor leading me to Hawaii. I had spent many
boyhood summers at the south-shore beaches of
Long Island in New York. In high school, I joined
the swimming team, and when it came time to
choose a college—it had to be tuition-free because
of our family’s limited finances—I enrolled at the
City College of New York in upper Harlem, an
hour and a half of jostling subway ride each way,
rather than attend the more conveniently located
Queens College, because CCNY, not Queens,
had a pool where I could continue my swimming
career. And, during my college summers, I worked
as a New York City lifeguard at Rockaway Beach,
the City’s largest, busiest, most challenging, and
most social ocean beach. It was natural, therefore,
for me to seek out swimming opportunities in
Hawaii, and soon after our arrival, I joined that
ocean swim club that took me out to Rabbit Island
off of Sea Life Park. I suspect that my fondness for
the ocean and swimming was part of what eventu-
ally attracted me to dolphins and whales.
108 Herman
Rats and Dolphins
At the University of Hawaii’s Department of
Psychology, I was assigned to teach undergradu-
ate and graduate courses in experimental psychol-
ogy and was allotted a small laboratory space in
the basement of the Psychology Building where I
resumed my research into human information pro-
cessing. Additionally, given my background with
Rhesus monkeys, the Department Chair assigned
me to teach a new undergraduate laboratory course
on animal learning in which students would be
familiarized with the principles of classical and
operant conditioning. During the weekly labora-
tory section of the course, each pair of students
was provided with their very own white rat and
a “Skinner box, and they attempted to apply the
techniques I taught them to train their rats in both
simple and complex behaviors. The students loved
their rats, petted them, gave them cute names, and
cheered their progress. But, in a way, it was those
same rats that led me to dolphins.
During the spring semester of 1967, I was teach-
ing a graduate seminar in experimental design and
methods. One student, whose eyes always seemed
to glare with special intensity, stopped me in the
hallway between classes, asking once again, “Dr.
Herman, why are you working with rats in Hawaii?
Why aren’t you studying dolphins?” Then, with
that intense glare ratcheted upwards even more,
he said, “Dolphins are very intelligent! I’ve read
John Lilly’s books! Why isn’t anyone studying
them in Hawaii? Why don’t you do it?”
Eventually, I began to think, “Why not?”
For the last phase of that graduate seminar,
the students were to design an experiment col-
lectively. One day, I walked into class and said,
“For your project, let’s all design an experiment
on dolphin intelligence!” Everyone liked the idea,
and we began to review the literature on animal
intelligence and how it had been studied. We soon
learned that valid scientific experiments on dol-
phin intelligence were almost nonexistent or, in
some cases, were suspect. I said, “We have the
opportunity now to design a proper experiment.”
Of course, there was soon sentiment to actually
do a study and not just design one. There was a
lot of talent in that class, and I was confident we
could do a proper study if only I could manage to
convince Sea Life Park to let us work with one of
their dolphins for a summer project.
It seemed simple enough—convince Karen and
Tap Pryor, the recent developers and owners of
Sea Life Park and the associated Oceanic Institute
(Pryor, 1975), to lend us one of their dolphins and
one of their pools so that we could carry out a sci-
entific study of dolphin intelligence. Karen, in her
mid-30s (like me), and a devotee of B. F. Skinner
and his principles of reinforcement, was a self-
taught trainer as well as the curator of mammals
at Sea Life Park. It was evident that much of the
early success of the Park was a reflection of her
managerial skills. Further, Karen was keenly inter-
ested in research. A few years after my visit to the
Park, Karen was to publish a seminal paper called
“The Creative Porpoise” (Pryor et al., 1969). It
was easy to understand, then, why she welcomed
our project, but she cautioned that I would have to
get permission from Tap as well.
Tap was a multitalented innovator and entre-
preneur, also in his mid-30s, and of seemingly
boundless energy and ideas. Following a stint in
the Marines as a Naval Aviator, he enrolled in
the graduate program in marine biology at the
University of Hawaii. Frustrated by the lack of
local facilities to complete his study of sharks,
he decided to develop a research and public dis-
play facility for marine life that would include
dolphins. He designed a park (together with Ken
Norris), raised the funds to develop it, and in the
early 1960s, Sea Life Park was born. Tap later
went on to develop many other projects, from
undersea habitats and submersibles to shrimp
farms. I’ve never been sure why Tap was at first
reluctant to authorize my research project, given
his own research background and the mission of
the Park, but, nevertheless, I did not take his initial
“no” as his final word. Almost daily, I sought him
out, spelling out my case. One day I heard he was
visiting Coconut Island, located in Kaneohe Bay
on windward Oahu, and I made my way out there.
I think he was startled to see me when I caught up
with him as he strolled along one of the wooded
paths through the island, but somehow the set-
ting, or my arguments, or more likely the nuisance
factor I was creating, swayed him, and he said
“yes.” He would give me a window of three weeks
for the study. Not enough, I thought, but a start.
“Come back next week,” Karen said after
hearing of Tap’s assent, “and I’ll let you take a
fig. 6
Figure 6. Aerial view of Coconut Island, Kaneohe, Oahu
109 Historical Perspectives
swim with Wela.I can still recall my emotions
during that first swim—an insoluble mixture of
elation and anxiety. I treaded water in the center
of the pool while Wela, excited by a stranger in
her waters, dashed about at an alarming rate of
speed, churning up waves, and coming uncom-
fortably close at times. It almost seemed that she
was testing me. Finally, Wela slowed down and as
she glided close by, I reached out and let my hand
slide along her flank, feeling for the first time that
smooth wet-innertube-like skin that allows the
dolphin to slip through the water so easily. Wela
lifted her head out of the water at my touch and
I heard the whoosh of her breath as her blowhole
opened for a moment and closed again. But her
eye caught mine, and I sensed she accepted my
presence. I exited the pool, dripping seawater, but
with a smile on my face as broad as a dolphin’s.
Karen smiled, too, at my dolphin baptism and said
we could begin our study anytime.
The Question of Dolphin Intelligence
My studies of human information processing were
in keeping with the paradigm shift sweeping over
psychology in the 1960s, forcing the field of theo-
retical psychology away from the restrictive tenets
of behaviorism in which unobservable concepts
like mind, memory, and consciousness were scien-
tifically taboo subjects, to the revolutionary science
of cognition that arose to address such issues.
The 1960s witnessed not only the birth of the
cognitive revolution in psychology and in many
other fields like neuroscience, artificial intelli-
gence, and philosophy, but also saw the unfold-
ing of a banner decade for the laboratory study of
dolphins. Much of what we now take for granted
about dolphin behavior saw its genesis and devel-
opment during that decade, setting the agenda for
much of what was to follow. A sampling of topics
initiated or developed during that decade, briefly
noted in Box 1, gives a flavor of the exceptional
productivity of those times.
Harrison Matthews (1966), the eminent large-
whale biologist, attributed much of that surge
of research to the emergence of marine parks.
In his opening remarks as the Chair of the First
International Symposium on Cetacean Research
in 1963, he stated, “The greatest revolution in the
study of the Cetacea has come with the possibility
of keeping living cetaceans in oceanariums. . . .
Now the living animal is accessible at close quar-
ters for the study of functional anatomy, physiol-
ogy, pathology, reproductive activity, behavior,
and even psychology” (p. 4). To that assessment I
would add a further critical factor: the emergence
in the early 1960s of the Navy’s marine mammal
program, which provided funding for both in-
house and outsourced research on dolphins and
sea lions (see Wood, 1973; Evans, 2008).
The question of dolphin intelligence also
emerged in full flower in the 1960s with the pub-
lication of two books by John Lilly (1961, 1967)
and the advent of the Flipper film and television
series during that time. Lilly’s popular works took
their inspiration from descriptions of the large
and apparently complex brain of the bottlenose
dolphin, which Lilly likened to the computational
power of a computer that increases with size and
complexity (number of processing elements).
Noting that the brain of the bottlenose dolphin
was well over 1,000 grams, the minimum size,
Lilly (1961) contended, for language, he hypoth-
esized that dolphins might communicate with
one another through a language of their own, and
“being without benefit of hands or outside con-
structions of any sort, they may have taken the
path of legends and verbal traditions, rather than
that of written records” (p. 68). In his 1967 book,
Lilly pushed the computer metaphor further, won-
dering what transcendent mental capabilities lay
within the brain of the sperm whale, by far the
largest brain on the planet. Not surprisingly, these
speculations raised the eyebrows of many scien-
tists. F. G. Wood (1973) wrote, “In moving into
the unfamiliar fields of behavior, bioacoustics, and
linguistics, Lilly seemed to lose whatever critical
acumen and scientific skepticism he possessed”
(p. 92). The noted biologist E. O. Wilson (1975)
put it more bluntly: “Lilly’s books are mislead-
ing to the point of bordering on irresponsibility”
(p. 473). On the several occasions that I met Lilly,
including an occasion when he visited my lab, I
always found him to be personable, respectful of
my work, and with an obvious keen interest in
spiritual and transcendental matters.
Although these criticisms of Lilly by Wood
and Wilson were expressed several years after our
Box 1. Examples of dolphin research productivity during
the 1960s
• Typesofvocalizations(Lilly&Miler,1961a;Lilly,
1962; Evans & Prescott, 1962; Evans, 1967)
• Signaturewhistles(Caldwell&Caldwell,1965)
• Vocalexchanges(Lilly&Miller,1961b;Lang&
Smith, 1965)
• Echolocation(Kellogg,1961;Norrisetal.,1961;Evans
& Powell, 1967)
• Hearingthresholds(Johnson,1967)
• Visualdiscriminationandproblemsolving(Kellogg&
Rice, 1964)
• Creativity(Pryoretal.,1969)
• Reproductiveandsocialbehaviors(Tavolga,1966;also
Tavolga & Essapian, 1957)
• Care-givingbehavior(Caldwell&Caldwell,1966)
110 Herman
little group gathered at Sea Life Park, I was aware
through my own readings that Lilly’s pronounce-
ments on dolphin intelligence and language were
highly speculative and without strong scientific
foundations. Yet, during this same 1960s period,
there were several well-executed empirical stud-
ies completed or underway by various investiga-
tors seeking to understand dolphin vocalizations,
communication, and the possibility of dolphin
language. One suite of studies attempted to cor-
relate dolphin whistle vocalizations with behavior
to search for any language-like systems resident
within those sounds (e.g., Dreher, 1961, 1966;
Dreher & Evans, 1964; Lang & Smith, 1965).
However, a careful review of these studies sug-
gested to me that there was insufficient variation
(information content) in the whistles to plausibly
allow for an extant language with properties akin
to human language (Herman & Tavolga, 1980).
Two other studies, one by Jarvis Bastian and
the other by Dwight Batteau, both respected sci-
entists, directly tested some implications of a lin-
guistic ability in dolphins, if it existed. Bastian,
a professor of psycholinguistics at the University
of California–Davis, wondered whether one of the
key design features of language, its openness or
capacity for creating symbols to represent new
events or objects, could be demonstrated by dol-
phins if a situation were structured that required
it (Bastian, 1967). Bastian’s key question was
whether one dolphin could inform another about
an arbitrary event, something not in the dolphin’s
natural or learned repertoire. For that, he chose the
state of an out-of-water-light as flashing or not.
Initially, a male and a female dolphin maintained
in the same pool but in separate halves (a small
mesh net separated the pair) could each see the
light and each learned to press one of two paddles
in its half of the pool contingent on the state of
the light but with the male having to press his
first. Only if both responded correctly was the
pair rewarded. They learned this sequence and
which paddle to press almost perfectly. Later,
in a series of gradual steps, an opaque net now
separated the pair, obscuring the male’s view of
the light, but not the female’s. In theory, the male
now had to depend on the female for informa-
tion on the state of the light or which paddle to
press. Surprisingly, the pair continued to respond
almost perfectly, and vocalizations were heard
from the female at the start of most trials. Rather
than accept this apparent groundbreaking finding
as proof of the transmission of arbitrary informa-
tion by the female, perhaps through some linguis-
tic structure, Bastian initiated a series of control
measures, such as removing the opaque barrier,
thus allowing the male to again see the light, and
finally removing the male altogether from the pool
(Bastian et al., 1968). The key finding was that the
female’s vocalizations and her previous behaviors
continued unchanged and unabated. The authors
concluded that the female was not intention-
ally (knowingly) transmitting information to the
male but that chance factors allowed the pair to
succeed in the task. A likely cue was the spatial
position of the female while vocalizing, which dif-
fered depending on the state of the light. The male
might have used his ability to sense those different
locations acoustically as cues to which paddle to
press (for further discussion, see Evans & Bastian,
1969; Wood, 1973; Herman & Tavolga, 1980).
During the late fall of 1967, I was happily
escorted to Coconut Island by David Alices, the
talented “local-style” head trainer at Sea Life
Park. David was taking me to view an ongo-
ing study initiated by Dwight Batteau that was
attempting to communicate with dolphins through
an artificial whistle language. I followed David
to a small tree-lined lagoon occupied by two
dolphins, Maui and Puka. A small houseboat
was moored at the edge of the lagoon, and on its
sheltered lanai sat several relay racks filled with
electronic gear. Batteau, a physicist and mechani-
cal engineer at Tufts University, had constructed
a “man-to-dolphin translator” to convert spoken
Hawaiian-like phonemes into whistle-like sounds
that were then broadcast into the lagoon though
underwater speakers (Batteau & Markey, 1968).
The whistle sounds controlled various dolphin
behaviors, some 12 or 13 different behaviors alto-
gether by the time the study ended some three
years after its inception. In one of those tragic cir-
cumstances that shouts of irony, the end occurred
prematurely when Batteau drowned while swim-
ming in the ocean near Sea Life Park. When I
arrived at the lagoon with David Alices, Batteau’s
assistant, Peter Markey, was wrapping up the
research. What I was able to witness, however, as
demonstrated by David, and as described in the
Batteau and Markey report, were responses of the
Fig. 7
Figure 7. John Lilly (right) visits Lou Herman’s lab, ca. 1985
111 Historical Perspectives
dolphins to a few simple whistle commands. For
example, one whistle sound commanded a dolphin
to “hit the floating ball with your pectoral fin.
That single sound thus acted to release a sequence
of behaviors. I could see that this was unlike the
linguistic structure of human languages in which
a unique sound stands for a unique semantic ele-
ment such as a particular object (e.g., “ball”) or
a particular action (e.g., “hit”). In Batteau’s “lin-
guistic” system, therefore, there was no way to
dissociate a complex instruction into its semantic
elements to create a new instruction such as “hit
the hoop (rather than the ball) with your pectoral
fin” (for a more detailed analysis, see Herman,
1980). Batteau’s system thus lacked productivity,
a design feature of human language that allows for
new meaning to be constructed through recombi-
nations of old words (Hockett & Altmann, 1968).
I concluded that some other approach would be
needed if dolphin language-learning ability were
ever to be tested again.
My First Study
So, it was in that delicate and conflicting context—
of raised eyebrows by some in the scientific com-
munity at mention of dolphin language or intel-
ligence contrasted with a burgeoning interest by
others in resolving those issues through objective
scientific study—that our small group now gath-
ered at Sea Life Park lowered our apparatus into
Wela’s pool. At this time, our focus was not on
language or on intelligence per se but on testing
a dolphin on an existing comparative learning task
that seemed to order terrestrial species along a con-
tinuum consistent with their relative brain devel-
opment. This was the very same concept-learning
task I had been applying to Rhesus monkeys during
my stay at Emory University. Various investigators
by now had shown, for example, that Rhesus mon-
keys were more efficient learners of this type of
task than were spider monkeys, which were more
efficient than cats, which were more efficient than
rats (Warren, 1965)—results that correlated well
with the brain sizes and development of these spe-
cies. Our goal was to see where a dolphin would fit
within that menagerie of tested animals. We would
give Wela a series of simple problems, all of the
same type, each solvable by the same strategy or
rule. We would then track her learning efficiency,
that is, her progress toward discovering and apply-
ing the rule to each new problem as she gained
experience with previous problems.
Wela’s actual task was quite simple. We dis-
played two different plywood shapes side by side
under water and asked her to choose one or the
other at random by pushing on it to trip a micro-
switch. We used our preplanned schedule to deter-
mine whether that initial (Trial 1) choice would
be rewarded (with a brief underwater sound and
a thrown fish) or not. Thereafter, on Trial 2, and
on successive trials with that pair, she should con-
tinue to choose the rewarded object, or if her initial
choice was not rewarded, switch to the other pair
member, a strategy succinctly called “win-stay,
lose-shift.” After six to 12 trials with a particular
pair of shapes, a new pair was introduced, and Wela
once again had to uncover the rewarded member.
Would she become increasingly more efficient at
solving new problems (show an increasing level of
success on Trial 2 over blocks of problems) as her
experience grew? Typically, animals tested in this
paradigm are given hundreds, even thousands, of
problems to determine when, of even if, a success-
ful strategy develops. Rhesus monkeys, after expe-
riencing many hundreds of problems, improve
steadily and eventually often learn to choose the
correct object consistently after only a single
trial with a new pair. Rats, in contrast, show little
improvement even after thousands of problems.
Finally, that moment came when we lowered
the apparatus into the water for the first time and
our test of Wela began. We tested her each day,
carefully following our planned protocol and
dutifully recording our results. The three allotted
weeks passed quickly, and we had not yet been
able to complete a sufficient number of problems.
I asked Karen for more time. “Sure, continue,” she
said, implying that it was okay with Tap as well.
By early fall we had given Wela 80 different two-
choice problems, still a small number as compared
with the numbers given to other species tested, and
were wrapping up the research. Fall classes had
begun, and my teaching duties were resuming, as
well as classes for the grad assistants. However,
Wela had reached a level of performance similar to
that achieved by Rhesus monkeys given compara-
bly few problems, but it was still not good enough
to conclude that she had mastered the win-stay,
lose-shift strategy. The dolphin’s place among the
species tested in that paradigm remained unre-
solved (see Herman et al., 1969). It would be up
to someone else, I thought, to take the issue fur-
ther. Feeling disappointed that we hadn’t achieved
more, but without the means to continue, I decided
I would get back to my studies of human informa-
tion processing and remember this experience as
an interesting and fun summer.
The Navy
As we neared the concluding days of our project,
a small group from the Navy’s marine mammal
program, recently relocated to San Diego from
Point Mugu, California, visited Sea Life Park
and wandered over to where we were testing
112 Herman
Wela. The group was led by Bill Powell, who in
another year’s time was to become the manager
of the newly developing Navy dolphin program at
the Marine Corps Air Station at Kaneohe Bay. As
the group watched, I gave a running commentary
on what we were doing and why. They seemed
impressed by our well-controlled procedures and
intrigued by a study that was attempting to estab-
lish a dolphin’s place in a comparative learning
paradigm. After hearing that our time at Sea Life
Park was ending, Bill asked whether the University
had a place where I could continue this work. I
shook my head—there was no place. After a few
moments of reflection, Bill astonished me with an
offer to provide two dolphins and modest funding
if I could find a place to continue this research.
“Seriously?” I asked
“Seriously,” Bill replied.
I was excited by this intriguing prospect. Wela
had been an adventure and a challenge, and I was
sure I could do better next time, as could a dolphin.
But where could I find a place? And, pressing
ahead would require a large commitment of time,
and I wasn’t yet willing to abandon my human
research. Perhaps I could parallel process the two
projects, I thought. After all, I reasoned, my dis-
sertation was a study of multitasking, and I had
determined it could be done relatively efficiently.
I looked back at Bill, and said, “Okay, I’ll give
it a try!”
After the Navy team left, I wondered what I
agreed to so impetuously, but doing something
rather than doing nothing was both my strength
and at times my weakness, as the thrill of impet-
uousness can at times morph into the regret of
action. Of course, it would be hard to find a place.
But, it was the late 1960s, and Hawaii was not yet
in its full building-boom frenzy, having achieved
Statehood only some eight years earlier. There
were still open places. Over the next weeks and
months, I carried out a search, feeling at times like
a frustrated Ponce de Leon seeking his fountain,
driving throughout the island in my ‘57 bug every
chance I had, exploring sites, experiencing disap-
pointments, and wondering what Wela had gotten
me into, until, finally, I made that left turn from
Ala Moana Boulevard into Kewalo Basin Harbor.
My First Dolphins
After leaving the former shark facility, function-
ing then only as an office and storage locker
for the University ship operations, I followed
the advice of my host there and contacted Phil
Helfrich, the Associate Director of the Hawaii
Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). Phil said that
Albert Tester, a distinguished shark researcher and
a professor in the Department of Zoology at the
University of Hawaii, was scheduled to use one of
the pools for shark research. Dr. Tester at that time
was leading a shark eradication and research pro-
gram funded by the State, initiated after a shark
attack on a young surfer. There were no plans for
the second pool, however. I told Phil of the Navy
offer and that some of the money could be used to
help defray costs of the needed renovations. Phil
was supportive and agreed to include the dolphin
project in HIMB’s renovation plans. I then paid
a courtesy call to Dr. Tester. He was comfortable
that the arrangement could work—dolphins in
one pool and sharks in the other. It was a deal. I
then contacted Bill Powell, reporting I had found
a place and that it could easily accommodate two
dolphins. I explained my plans for the facility and
my ideas for research. I said I hoped he could pro-
vide young dolphins as that would be the best time
to start their education, track their development,
and test their intellectual potential. Bill replied
that it all sounded good. He then asked me to pre-
pare a proposal and a budget. “Keep it to about
$10,000,” he said.
With the help of HIMB and some of the Navy
funds that had come through as Bill had promised,
the facility was readied—dolphins in one pool
and sharks in the other. The sharks arrived first,
sandbar and gray reef species caught locally and
maintained in the south pool. Dick Wass, one of
Dr. Tester’s doctoral candidates, would carry out
a study over the next two years on their growth
rate. Vic Faughn, one of Tester’s assistants, was
charged with setting hooks at night to provision
the pool with new sharks, an ironic reincarna-
tion of the method used by the original developer
of the Kewalo shark facility. Occasionally, Vic
returned with a dead tiger shark, its appearance as
a corpse almost as menacing as when alive. One
day, working on a dock just outside the lab, Vic
extracted the entire jaw of a 13-foot tiger with its
rows of teeth still intact. He opened the jaw wide,
passed it to me, and said, “Try it on!” I was able
to circle my body with it, passing it downward
from my head to my feet like a hula-hoop, without
any tooth touching me. When Vic nodded toward
Point Panic at the Harbor’s entrance, saying that’s
where he hooked the shark, several onlookers,
apparently ardent body-boarders at that popular
spot, said they might take their surfing elsewhere.
Early in the afternoon of March 4, 1969, a
Navy truck pulled up to the large double doors of
the facility. From inside, I swung the doors open
and saw three Navy personnel bending over two
dark forms lying on stretchers on the truck bed.
I shouted to my graduate assistant, Frank Beach,
that the dolphins were here. First one dolphin and
then the other was lifted up, still on its stretcher,
carried inside, and with typical Navy aplomb,
113 Historical Perspectives
each stretcher was hoisted above the pool wall
and tilted sideways, the dolphin rolling off into the
pool and landing with a loud splash about a foot
below. There must be a better way, I thought.
The two dolphins now swimming about in
the clear waters pumped in from a new seawater
well drilled adjacent to the facility had traveled
a long way. The first leg of their journey was by
Navy plane from the Florida Keys to the Navy’s
marine mammal facilities at San Diego. A month
later, they continued again by plane to the recently
constructed Navy marine mammal facilities at the
Kaneohe Marine Base, where they spent another
month. Finally, after traveling by truck across
the pali (“cliff”) from Kaneohe, they were here,
the initiates of my Kewalo Basin lab. We named
one dolphin Keakiko (Kea, for short) because of
a “white spot” on her tail, and the second Nana,
the Hawaiian word for “to look, observe, or see,
for her engaging habit of rising up to watch us as
we passed by.
Both Kea and Nana were female Atlantic bottle-
nose dolphins, wild born in Florida’s coastal waters.
Kea was collected by Santini’s Porpoise School in
Grassy Key, midway down the peninsula defining
the Florida Keys. Milton Santini, a local fisher-
man, founded the school. His first dolphin, Mitzi,
was the star of the 1963 film, Flipper, that added
greatly to the dolphin’s aura. Flipper, represented
not only by Mitzi but later by other dolphin “stand-
ins,” became an icon, made famous not only by the
film but by the television series that was to follow
the next year and continue through to 1967. When
Mitzi passed away in 1972, Santini reportedly was
heartbroken. He sold his facility and never worked
with dolphins again. The “Porpoise School” then
went through several management and identity
changes, eventually morphing into the Dolphin
Research Center, still active today. A statue of a
dolphin stands prominently outside the entrance
to the Center. A small plaque reads, “Dedicated to
Mitzi. The original Flipper.
Kea was about three years old, a good age to
begin her education. It was obvious, though, that
she had suffered a horrific shark attack sometime
in her young life in those Florida waters, where as
many as half the dolphins bear shark scars (Wells
& Scott, 2009). A long, dark, arcing scar ran down
Kea’s right flank from behind her dorsal fin to the
white coloration of her belly. Her left flipper was
partially bitten away, leaving a stunted, irregular
profile rather than the gracefully tapered edge typ-
ifying her species. I wondered how she could have
survived that attack, but here she was, looking at
me with that indelible dolphin smile.
Nana, about 12 years old, was dark in coloration
with large, bright eyes that gave further credence to
her name. She was older than I had hoped for and
I wrote to Forrest Wood, then head of the Marine
Bioscience Facility of the Naval Undersea Warfare
Center in San Diego, to inquire about her. “Woody”
responded apologetically, saying that only one
of the young animals obtained from Santini was
available for my project. As a substitute, they had
obtained a dolphin at Key West from Bob Bailey,
the noted animal trainer. That was Nana. Bob told
Woody that Nana had been at Key West since April
of 1968 but had undergone no training. She arrived
at my lab burdened with many small, ulcer-like
pits covering about a fourth of her body surface.
Termed “pinhole lesions,” there was no known
cause and no known treatment.
I had designed the dolphin pool so that it could
be divided into two halves by a slatted redwood
fence that ran across the diameter of the pool,
rising from just above floor level to about four feet
above the water surface. The fence was hinged at
its center and could be folded back about 1350,
opening up the pool but leaving a small pie-
shaped wedge accessible through a gate in the
fence. Later, I used that area as a temporary hold-
ing pen for stranded green sea turtles and a small
school of tilapia.
The Navy contract that had been awarded was
for slightly over $10,000. I had specified that we
would complete two different types of concept-
learning studies, one to follow up on our initial
work with Wela and the second to examine a
simpler learning paradigm. The work was to be
completed by October 1969 and would serve not
only to satisfy the contract by obtaining data on
dolphin comparative learning, but would also
satisfy Frank’s dissertation requirements. Frank
and I worked feverishly throughout the summer
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Figure 8. The first year of the lab (1969); the dolphin pool is
in foreground, with shark tank in rear covered in a sunshade.
A redwood-slatted fence separated the dolphin pool in half,
but the fence could be folded back on itself to increase the
available area to Kea and Nana.
114 Herman
and early fall of 1969 and finished the project on
time. Both Kea and Nana solved the simpler prob-
lem in which the reward values of the two mem-
bers of a fixed pair of underwater sounds reversed
unpredictably and the dolphin must learn to
reverse her choices, too, again using the win-stay,
lose-shift strategy. Few species are capable of rap-
idly reversing their choices in this paradigm, but
both dolphins, Kea especially, learned to rapidly
reverse in synchrony with the changing reward
values of the pair of sounds (Beach & Herman,
1972), much like what had been found in stud-
ies of chimps and Rhesus monkeys. The second
test, similar to the type given Wela but using
many different pairs of sounds projected under
water rather than pairs of shapes, continued to be
problematical. Puzzled by this difficulty, I donned
scuba gear and sat on the pool bottom listening to
the sounds that Kea was dealing with, adopting
the dolphin’s “point-of-view.The problem soon
became obvious. Playing the two different sounds
simultaneously, one at each underwater speaker
as I had been doing, apparently resulted in some
mutual acoustic interference. Instead, I needed to
sequence the pair of sounds, presenting one after
the other in random order and randomly determin-
ing which sound appeared at which speaker. This
change worked like magic, and Kea soon was able
to solve new problems after a single trial, using
the win-stay, lose-shift strategy, a level of perfor-
mance that rivaled the best reported for chimps or
monkeys (Herman & Arbeit, 1973).
Those who have worked closely with dolphins
understand how emotionally bonding the connec-
tion between human and dolphin can become.
Early one December morning in 1969, we found
Nana lying unmoving on the pool bottom. Our
veterinarian, John Allen, arrived soon after, and
his examination, then and later during necropsy,
showed no evident trauma or systemic failure.
However, over the nine months that Nana was with
us, the pinhole lesions gradually spread across her
body despite efforts by John and other veterinary
consultants and laboratories to diagnose and treat
them. The necropsy report read, “Approximately
90% of her skin surface was covered with various
stages of lesion described as ‘pinhole lesions’ in
Tursiops.” Veterinarians would eventually classify
pinhole lesions as one of several manifestations of
poxvirus occurring in both captive and wild dol-
phin populations (Geraci et al., 1979). I wondered
whether the extensive lesions might have compro-
mised the integrity of her integument, possibly
leading to an electrolyte imbalance she could not
Nana, despite her poor health, was a bright
and responsive animal that we looked forward to
seeing each day. She never showed signs of dis-
comfort from her skin lesions, and she greeted our
arrival warmly each morning, squealing excitedly
on seeing us and urging us, I suppose, to hurry up
with breakfast.
The National Science Foundation
By the middle of 1971, although the research was
exciting and going well, the future of the lab was
uncertain. I had received a second Navy contract to
continue my work with Kea, now my only dolphin,
but further Navy funding seemed unlikely, and my
current funds would soon run out. We were scram-
bling to cut costs, obtaining needed equipment and
supplies from Navy surplus, and remaining heav-
ily dependent on volunteer help. Of course, there
was no compromising on dolphin food or health.
Frank Beach, my graduate student, had received
his Ph.D. for his work with Kea and Nana and was
Fig. 9
Figure 9. Top: View of initial apparatus used to test Kea’s
auditory learning and memory abilities; the water has been
lowered for pool cleaning. The left and right J9 underwater
speakers can be seen, each with a response paddle nearby.
A channel of suspended ropes defines the “listening” area,
with a “start” paddle at the channel’s end. Just beyond the
start paddle is a centrally located speaker that may play a
“sample” sound. The two alternative sounds, one of them a
“match,” later appear at the J9 speakers, one at each speaker.
Bottom: Kea enters the rope-channel listening area and
presses the start paddle to begin a trial.
115 Historical Perspectives
now employed as a research scientist by the Navy
dolphin program at Kaneohe Bay. A new graduate
student, Bill Arbeit, and I were working together
on several studies with Kea. We had completed
one study showing Kea’s acute sensitivity to small,
almost minute, degrees of frequency modulation
(Herman & Albeit, 1971a) and had completed a
report for the Navy of her sensitivity to various
types of sounds, not only frequency modulated
sounds but pure tones and pulse modulated sounds
(Herman & Arbeit, 1971b). We used the find-
ings from the latter study to guide our selection
of sounds for the successful Herman and Arbeit
(1973) study. Additionally, together with another
graduate student, Judith Gordon, I was designing
a test of Kea’s memory for new sounds that would
later appear in publication (Herman & Gordon,
1974) and would attest to the remarkable auditory
memory of the dolphin. In addition, Mike Yunker,
an undergraduate honors student, and I had planned
and were carrying out a study of Kea’s sensitivity
to temporal differences in sounds that also was
later published (Yunker & Herman, 1974).
It was a thrill to see Kea performing so well,
and I felt we were on our way to discovering much
about the sensory and cognitive world of dolphins.
However, I cautioned my students that unless I
could find reliable long-term funding to continue
our dolphin research, I would have to end the
research, close the lab, and return full time to my
work in human information processing. I knew
that message was disappointing to the students,
but I realized that the odds of securing long-term
funding were slim. Nevertheless, I submitted a
comprehensive research proposal to the National
Science Foundation titled Sensory and Learning/
Memory Processes in the Bottlenosed Dolphin,
and asked for five years of support at an average
of $54,000 per year. That seems modest funding
by today’s standards, but it was July of 1971 and
$54,000 could buy a nice single-family home in
Honolulu, a home that might cost at least ten times
more today. In the proposal I stated,
The major goals of the research are the fuller
realization of the auditory capacities and
specializations of [the bottlenosed dolphin]
. . . and their comparative evaluation with
documented capacities and specializations
of primates and other selected vertebrate
More generally, I stressed that the comparison of
dolphin and primate on intellectual traits could
help answer some nagging questions about the
evolution of intelligence. Nonhuman primates
(particularly the chimpanzees) bear a close evo-
lutionary and genetic relationship to humans, and
their study is sometimes viewed as a window into
the origins of human intellect. But, I wondered, is
the primate line of evolution an obligate path for
advanced intellect or are there divergent routes that
can lead to that same result? I wanted to examine
whether these two mammalian groups, primates
and dolphins, though characterized by different
brain architecture, sensory specializations, mor-
phology, and ecology, and representing millions
of years of divergent evolution, might nevertheless
show convergences in cognitive characteristics and
skills. I reasoned that such convergences, if dem-
onstrated, would eliminate all those just named
factors—architecture, sensory specialization, mor-
phology, ecological niche, and evolutionary his-
tory—as uniquely necessary for the emergence of
advanced intellect, and would point the way instead
to other common root causes for the emergence of
such skill. What commonalities might remain?
One, I thought, might be social pressure. In a later
publication (Herman, 1980), I wrote specifically
of this possibility. We now know, for example, that
chimpanzees and bottlenose dolphins both live in
fluid, complexly structured societies where indi-
vidual recognition and selective inter-animal asso-
ciations and communication are paramount (see,
e.g., Connor et al., 2000). This so-called social
intelligence hypothesis has become today a major
theory for the evolution of advanced intellect (e.g.,
de Waal & Tyack, 2005).
In late December of 1971, NSF gave its answer,
awarding the full five years at the requested level
of annual support. Bill, Mike, and I clinked cel-
ebratory glasses together, and Frank Beach drove
across the island to join us. Now, all we had to
do was carry out our ongoing and planned stud-
ies. We would examine both auditory and visual
sensory processes, working-memory, comparative
learning, and, eventually, the understanding of
language-like symbolic systems.
Nearly coincident with the award of the NSF
grant, Dick Wass completed his dissertation work
on sharks, Dr. Tester had no further need for the
shark pool, and the entire facility was then turned
over to me for dolphin research, though the prop-
erty still resided under the authority of HIMB.
With this new funding and its guarantee of at least
five years of stability, I felt it was time to give
the facility an official name. I proudly commis-
sioned and posted a large wooden sign on the har-
bor-facing side the hollow-tile building that now
housed our offices. It read, Kewalo Basin Marine
Mammal Laboratory.
116 Herman
Puka Arrives
Under the NSF grant, the dolphin Puka arrived in
1972 to join Kea in our research program. This was
the same Puka that was one of the two dolphins
being studied by Dwight Batteau in that lagoon on
Coconut Island. Puka became our visual special-
ist, and our studies with her revealed definitively
that bottlenose dolphins have good visual acuity
both under water and in air (Herman et al., 1975).
We also showed that dolphins, though lacking
color vision, are most sensitive to the blue end of
the visible spectrum, which is in keeping with the
photic characteristics of their underwater world
(Madsen & Herman, 1980). Carolyn Madsen, who
had arrived at the lab in 1972, received her doctor-
ate for her studies of dolphin vision.
Kea’s Memory
Kea went on to demonstrate further the remark-
able fidelity of dolphin auditory short-term
memory, including memory for whole lists of
sounds (Thompson & Herman, 1977; also see
Herman, 1975, 1980). Roger Thompson, who
also arrived in 1972, earned his doctorate through
these memory studies. For me, the most pleasur-
able part of the research at this time was watching
Kea solving problems—patient, confident, alert,
investigative, and immensely gleeful when suc-
cessful, which was most often. I can still replay
in my mind a remarkable scene featuring Kea in
an auditory matching-to-sample paradigm. She
is waiting patiently in the listening area between
two underwater speakers. A to-be-remembered
sound (the “sample”) has already played. Soon,
a sound will appear at each speaker and she will
have to choose the one that matches the previous
sample—a test of her short-term memory. As Kea
waits, a large green sea turtle, an escapee from its
pen in Kea’s pool, now swims lazily by in front of
her. Kea shakes her head up and down vigorously
and pops her jaws with a loud clap, both serious
dolphin threats, but she remains in the listening
area, waiting. Finally, the two sounds play and
Kea dashes to the speaker to her left and presses
the adjacent paddle, correctly choosing the sound
she had heard before. Then, instead of returning
eagerly to her trainer for her fish reward, she races
after the turtle, places her rostrum on top of its
shell, and with vigorous strokes of her tail surfs
the gasping turtle across the pool and back into
its pen. Satisfied, Kea spins about and swims to
her trainer at high speed for her well-earned fish
reward. I trot over to the pen and close the turtle’s
gate, inadvertently left open, thinking what a mar-
velous animal Kea is.
The Humpback Whales of Winter
In 1975, there were so few humpbacks wintering
in Hawaii that few residents, outside perhaps of
the Maui community, were aware of their presence.
Hawaii humpbacks were part of the North Pacific
population that had been whaled mercilessly
throughout their habitats until finally coming under
the protective umbrella of the International Whaling
Commission (IWC) in 1966. At that time, it was
estimated that there were perhaps only 1,000 to
1,500 humpbacks remaining in the North Pacific
(Rice, 1977). On hearing the “rumor” that there were
humpback whales in Maui waters, and being keenly
interested in expanding my studies to include field
observations of marine mammals, I chartered a heli-
copter, flew over the Auau channel that runs between
Maui and Lanai, and together with Hannah verified
their presence. The next year, 1976, I launched all-
island aerial surveys using three small Cessna air-
craft to document the distribution and abundance of
the whales, including the presence of calves.
Additionally, from a vessel I chartered, we
approached and photographed whales at close
hand to identify individual animals through the
unique markings each carries on the underside of
its tail flukes, visible when the whale dives. We
also made underwater observations during which I
noted the common presence of a third whale trail-
ing below and behind a mother-calf pair. I dubbed
that whale the “escort,” a term now commonly
used to refer to male humpbacks accompanying
females (Herman & Antinoja, 1977).
During the winter/spring of 1977, working with
Ron Antinoja and with my new graduate student,
Paul Forestell, I set up a field station on the north
shore of Lanai Island from which we launched
small inflatable boats daily to capture photographs
of the whales and to record behaviors. Paul con-
tinued on with me in both the dolphin and whale
studies through to his Ph.D. in 1988. Additional
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Figure 10. Whale study: Hannah and Lou Herman in front
of a Cessna 182, preparing for an aerial survey of humpback
whales in Maui waters (1977)
117 Historical Perspectives
students of marine mammal behavior were attracted
to the whale project, and during the winter/spring
whale season of 1978, Randy Wells and Giuseppe
Notobartolo di Sciara worked with me as field assis-
tants. Scott Baker joined the project in 1979, and we
worked closely together during the following years,
both in Hawaii and in Alaska (the summer home of
many of Hawaii’s whales), until he completed his
dissertation in 1985. Scott went on to establish a
distinguished career in whale research.
My studies of the humpbacks, together with
many students and field assistants, have continued
every year since that initial foray, right up to the
present, culminating most recently in a paper on
the life histories of individual Hawaiian hump-
backs that, in some cases, we have sighted in
Hawaiian waters over spans of 30 or more years,
though not in every one of those years (Herman
et al., 2011). Today, humpback whale abundance
in the North Pacific is estimated at 20,000, with
more than half coming to Hawaii each winter
(Calambokidis et al., 2008), a remarkable success
story and a conservationist’s dream.
Our daughter Elia, born in 1979 and nurtured
on dolphins and whales throughout her youth,
later also joined in the whale studies. During
several years when she was a researcher for
the Remote Imaging Department of National
Geographic, she and I worked together to apply
cameras (Crittercams) on to the backs of whales
in competitive groups (E. Herman et al., 2008).
And, in the circular trajectory that life sometimes
takes, Elia, who began her whale “career” in 1980
as a one-year-old accompanying her parents in the
lab’s research boat, is now the State of Hawaii co-
manager of the Hawaii Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary.
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Figure 11. View of humpback whale field camp at north
shore of Lanai Island at Halepalaoa Landing, 1977; an
inflatable Avon craft and a kayak are on the beach, and a
spotting scope on a tripod is visible in the distance.
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Figure 12. Left to right: Lou Herman, Paul Forestell, and
Ron Antinoja on Maui during the 1977 humpback whale
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Figure 13. Left to right: Paul Forestell, Randy Wells, and
Giuseppe Notobartolo di Sciara at the Kewalo Basin Marine
Mammal Laboratory, 1978, reviewing whale data
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Figure 14. 1980 humpback whale team standing by
University of Hawaii van in front of rented condominium
apartment in Maalaea, Maui. Left to right: Scott Baker,
Barb Kuljis, Joe Mobley, Loren Davis, Lou Herman, and
Tom Freeman.
118 Herman
I greatly appreciate the support for the whale
work given by grants or contracts from the
NSF, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), the Marine Mammal
Commission, Sea Grant, and the National Park
Service (for work in Alaska). As I noted, many
graduate students joined in the research over the
years and many went on to establish careers in
marine mammal science after completing gradu-
ate degrees at the University of Hawaii, includ-
ing Paul Forestell, Scott Baker, Gordon Bauer, Joe
Mobley, Hillary Maybaum, Adam Frankel, Chris
Gabriele, Dave Helweg, Alison Craig, Scott Spitz,
Adam Pack, Mark Deakos, Alison Stimpert, Siri
Hakala, and Kira Goetschius, listed, more or less,
in the temporal order of their first appearance in
the whale research program.
The Theft of the Dolphins
On May 29, 1977, in the dark hours before dawn, two
former students serving as pool cleaners and who I
had discharged only two days previously took Kea
and Puka bodily from their pools, placed them on the
floor of an old VW van, and motored them 40 miles
to a remote part of the island. There they abandoned
the pair in the ocean to somehow suddenly make it
on their own in this strange place. The two dolphins
separated from each other immediately and neither
was ever recovered, though we tried for many days. I
believe both perished within a short time, victims of
starvation, dehydration, or sharks. I sometimes think
about the fear Kea must have felt, alone in that dark
ocean with its unfamiliar sounds and with perhaps the
memory of her earlier shark attack still ghosting about
in her mind. The two perpetrators were eventually
convicted of first-degree theft, though neither served
any jail time. It was a terrible time for my students,
my staff, for Hannah, and for me as we mourned the
loss of Kea and Puka and weathered the stress of the
long criminal trials and the labor of the rebirth of the
lab. I will always be grateful during those dark times
for the support of Ken Norris and Bill Evans.
Rebirth of the Lab
After 14 months of staring at two empty pools,
each as dry as the day I first saw them in 1967, the
Fig. 16
Fig. 17
Figure 16. Humpback whale in a competitive group wearing
Crittercam during collaborative study between the National
Geographic Remote Imaging Department (Elia Herman,
field director) and The Dolphin Institute, 2005-2006
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Figure 15. Hannah and Lou Herman and seven-month-old
daughter Elia on whale boat, 1980
Fig. 18
Figure 18. Lou Herman, Paul Forestell, and Hannah
Herman enjoy a beer in celebration of the new arrivals,
July 8, 1978.
Fig. 16
Fig. 17
Figure 17. New arrivals Akeakamai and Phoenix, both still
sporting zinc oxide applied during transit, being hand fed
by Lou Herman on July 8, 1978
119 Historical Perspectives
arrival in July 1978 of two young female dolphins,
Akeakamai (Hawaiian for “lover of wisdom”) and
Phoenix (named in honor of our rebirth) marked
the renewal of the lab. It was a joyous occasion for
our little group that had held together during those
difficult months—Ron Antinoja, Paul Forestell,
Hannah, and me.
With this new pair, and together with my new
post-doctoral students, Doug Richards and Jim
Wolz, we were able to show that dolphins are
capable of understanding the semantic and syn-
tactic features of the special gestural or acoustic
languages we created (Herman et al., 1984). It was
groundbreaking research, the first convincing evi-
dence of syntactic processing by an animal. The
research program was broad in its scope, and, over
the ensuing years, it also revealed the remark-
able capability of dolphins for vocal mimicry of
arbitrary sounds (Richards et al., 1984) and for
understanding the gestures or sounds as symbolic
references to real-world objects, much in the way
an arbitrary name in human languages comes to
stand for or refer to a real-world object (Herman
& Forestell, 1985).
Fig. 19
Figure 19. Lou Herman shows Ake and Phoenix to a press
conference called to introduce the new dolphins and mark
the rebirth of the lab, July 9, 1978.
Fig. 20
Figure 20. Close up of the youngsters Ake (lower) and
Phoenix (upper), fall 1978
Fig. 21
Fig. 22
Figure 21. Doug Richards and Lou Herman (in water)
introduce Ake and Phoenix to a J9 underwater speaker, fall
1978. Phoenix is at the left and Ake at the right.
Figure 22. Preparing for instruction of Akeakamai and
Phoenix in the language comprehension paradigm, fall 1978.
Left to right: Gordon Bauer descending the tower steps to
take his position at pool side as the dolphin instructor; Jim
Wolz inside the tower—he will be operating a remote key-
board to control the sounds the dolphins will hear; and Doug
Richards atop outriggers preparing to lower the stationing
apparatus and the J9 underwater speakers into the water.
120 Herman
Hiapo and Elele Arrive
In 1987, with the support of a contract from the
Office of Naval Research and a continuing NSF
grant, as well as continuing grants from the
Center for Field Research, the young female Elele
(Hawaiian for “Ambassador”) arrived together
with the young male Hiapo (Hawaiian for “first-
born son”). The pair joined Akeakamai and
Phoenix in the newly renovated pools that were
now connected together through a wide channel.
The accomplishments with these now four dol-
phins included demonstrations of their remark-
ably facile behavioral mimicry, not only of other
dolphins but of humans as well (Xitco, 1988;
Herman, 2002); an understanding of television
images as representations of the real world; and
that these images may be acted on in the same way
as real-world events (Herman et al., 1990).
Fig. 23
Figure 23. Language comprehension study. Top: The exper-
imental configuration at the start of a comprehension trial;
there are pairs of basket and pairs of Frisbees to Ake’s left
and right temporarily held in place by assistants until the
trial begins. Also visible is a freely floating surfboard and a
ball. Out of sight are additional floating objects. All objects,
as well as several tank fixtures have gestural “names” that
are understood by Ake. Center: The trainer has signed a
five-word gestural instruction: “Right Basket Left Frisbee
In,” which means “Place the Frisbee on your left inside the
basket on your right.” Ake has just retrieved the Frisbee on
her left. Note that the assistants are all standing erect with
hands behind their back and looking straight ahead to avoid
giving any social cues. Similarly, the trainer is wearing
opaque goggles. Bottom: Ake has reached the basket that
was initially to her right and is placing the Frisbee inside.
Fig. 24
Fig. 25
Figure 24. Lou Herman gesturally signing “Surfboard
Question,” asking Ake whether there is a surfboard in her
pool; she answers “No” by pressing the paddle on her left
or “Yes” by pressing the paddle on her right. The ability
to understand symbolic references to absent objects is
evidence that Ake understands the gestures as representing
those objects as does a spoken object’s name for us.
Fig. 24
Fig. 25
Figure 25. Panoramic view of KBMML’s connected pools
and new observation tower constructed in 1985-1986 in
preparation for the arrival of the two young dolphins, Elele
and Hiapo, who would be joining Ake and Phoenix.
121 Historical Perspectives
Our studies also showed the understanding of
the directing intention of the human pointing ges-
ture (something that is not within the natural capa-
bilities of chimpanzees) (Herman et al., 1999) and
the demonstration of self-awareness as manifested
in conscious awareness of their own body parts
(Herman et al., 2001) and in conscious awareness
of their own behaviors (Cutting, 1997; Mercado
et al., 1998; Herman, 2006).
We also showed that dolphins have an innate
capacity for creating images of objects through
echolocation that apparently are analogous to the
Fig. 27
Fig. 28
Fig. 29
Figure 27. Elia and Lou Herman and Ake at one of the new
pool windows (ca. 1996); Ake has just blown a bubble.
Fig. 26
Figure 26. Elele (left) and Hiapo (right) at KBMML
Fig. 27
Fig. 28
Fig. 29
Figure 28. Elele is mimicking the stance taken by the trainer
Amy Miller, in effect creating analogies between her body
plan and that of Amy’s.
Fig. 27
Fig. 28
Fig. 29
Figure 29. Ake at underwater window watching gestural
instruction being given on the television screen by a trainer
being filmed live in the television studio. A camera in the
window allows the trainer to see the dolphin at the window.
Figure 30. Dolphins understand the indicating function of the
human pointing gesture. Top: Lou Herman uses a brief cross-
body point to refer to the surfboard to Ake’s left. Center: Lou
has just signed the action command “pec-touch.Bottom: Ake
touches the surfboard with her pectoral fin
122 Herman
images constructed through vision, as determined
through cross-modality matching studies (Herman
et al., 1998; Pack et al., 2004).
The Research Legacy and People
Altogether, during its tenure from 1969 to its clo-
sure in 2004 when the last dolphin, Hiapo, passed
away, the lab produced over 160 scientific publi-
cations and reports on dolphins and whales, plus
41 theses and dissertations. Among those who
worked closely with me in our dolphin studies
were Ron Antinoja, Bill Arbeit, Frank Beach III,
Gordon Bauer, Krista Berkland, Stacy Braslau-
Schneck, Brian Branstetter, Lea Carsrud, Becca
Cowan, Amy Cutting, Mark Deakos, Paul Forestell,
Judith Gordon, John Gory, Elia Herman, Esme
Hoban, Alana Hobbs, Matthias Hoffman-Kuhnt,
Greg Hunter, Daisy Kaplan, Deirdre Killebrew,
Leah Kissel, Karl Langton, Carolyn Madsen, Dave
Matus, Eddie Mercado, Amy Miller, Joe Mobley,
Naomi Macintosh, Jean Osumi, Adam Pack, Mike
Peacock, Chris Prince, Susan Reeve, Cathy Ritchie,
Scott Roberts, Susan Rodenkirchen, Kathy Sdao,
Melissa Shaw, Melissa Shyan, Alison Stimpert,
Brian Tarbox, Kristin Taylor, Roger Thompson,
Robert Uyeyama, Dave Weller, Erin Williams,
Amy Wood, Mike Yunker, Mark Xitco, and Kathy
Zagzepski, as well as post-doctoral colleagues
Gary Bradshaw, Mark Holder, John Hovancik,
Stan Kuczaj, Jim Ralston, Doug Richards, and Jim
Wolz. It was truly a collaborative effort of the many
students, interns, and staff who worked with me in
this research marathon, together with nine remark-
able and unforgettable dolphins, and hundreds of
Fig. 31
Figure 31. Body-part understanding. Top: Elele is given the
three-word gestural instruction “Frisbee. Dorsal fin, touch,
a novel instruction that requires Elele to have conscious
awareness and conscious control of her body parts. The
trainer (Elia Herman) is just completing the gestural sign
for “dorsal fin.” Center: Elele approaches the floating
Frisbee with her body cocked sideways. Bottom: Elele lays
her dorsal fin squarely on the Frisbee and holds there until
she hears a whistle signifying “Correct.”
Fig. 32
Figure 32. Vision-echolocation cross-modal matching.
Elele has been shown an object in air to her visual sense
and must find a matching object in one of the three visually
opaque but acoustically transparent partially anechoic
boxes, using her echolocation sense. Most often, Elele is
able to locate the matching object or, alternatively, she may
press a “none of the above” paddle if she determines that
there is no match.
123 Historical Perspectives
photo-identified humpback whales who offered us
the underside of their tail flukes as they dove.
The Road’s End
Today, the place where the lab once stood, at the
southeast corner of Kewalo Basin Harbor, is now
but a parking lot, reminding me of that sad song
that speaks of paving paradise. Altogether, though,
it was a great adventure while it lasted. When I look
back over all those laboratory and field years, as
well as the years that came before “my unintended
career,it seems as if my path was somewhat like
that of a wanderer going nowhere in particular
along an open highway, but stopping curiously
at every location where a sign read, “Viewpoint
ahead!” Often, the views were spectacular.
Fig. 33
Figure 33. Phoenix and Lou Herman in a close moment at the KBMML pools (ca. 1985)
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... While these anecdotes provide some fairly convincing evidence that odontocetes are creative and capable innovators, most of the systematic research on cetacean creativity and innovation comes from Louis Herman's Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, which in its 30 plus years, provided the most comprehensive view of dolphin cognition to date (Herman, 2012a). By training their dolphins to respond to auditory and gestural cues, Herman and colleagues tested dolphins on a variety of tasks carefully constructed to probe their cognitive abilities. ...
In this chapter, we explore examples of novel, unusual, and atypical behavior by both wild and captive whales and dolphins in an effort to inform our understanding of cetacean innovative and creative abilities. While innovative and perhaps creative behavior occurs in a variety of contexts for both suborders, far more examples have been observed in odontocetes than mysticetes, which may be due to differences in ecology, morphology, life history, and/or cognitive ability, or simply reflect biases in the available data. In comparison to other taxa, data from cetacean research is less complete, but does provide important comparative insights into who innovates and why.
Full-text available
Observations of the vocal exchanges of bottlenose dolphins under various conditions are presented. Experimental conditions under which isolated emissions from each animal of a pair are separately recorded and in which the distance between the rostrum and the hydrophone is controlled are described. The exchanges consist of vocal alternations (A, then B, then A, and so on), "duets" (A plus B simultaneously), and long "solos" or "monologues." The emissions exchanged are: (i) whistles alone; (ii) slow click trains alone; (iii) simultaneous whistles and clicks from either or both animals; and (iv) squawks, quacks, blats, and so on, alone or simultaneously with whistles. Any or all of these sounds may occur in a given period. The significant carriers of meaning are to be determined. (Suggestions include various functions of relative amplitudes, absolute and relative frequency, frequency modulations, phaseshift variations, and durations of whistle emissions.) Average and peak amplitudes (at the rostrum) of each class of sound cover at least a 100-decibel range (controlled by the dolphin).