Jacques-Yves Cousteau PHILIP MORRISON and PHYLIS MORRISON - Essay

PHILIP MORRISON and PHYLIS MORRISON

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The bulk of the beautifully illustrated volume [Dolphins] recounts the dolphin experiences of Cousteau and the others over nearly 30 years: following, admiring, luring, capturing, feeding, training and swimming with dolphins of varied species in the several seas. The posthuman intelligence attributed by some to the dolphins gets little support here. Most original are accounts of human whistle speech, unfortunately only a few pages and photographs, and a long and detailed record of a visit with fisherfolk on the desert coast of Mauritania who have for a very long time regarded the local dolphins as their special allies. The dolphins in their season press great schools of mullet close to the shore, where the men can take them abundantly in their nets. It is probable that this is not the dolphins' purpose, but it would be "very difficult to convince the Imragen" that their sacred dolphins are not benevolent. The book is so wide in its attention that it is more diffuse than one would like, but it remains a remarkable treatment all the same. A glossary, art reproductions, a species summary and a list of where one can encounter trained dolphins worldwide are valuable accessories to the narrative. (p. 128)

Philip Morrison and Phylis Morrison, in a review of "Dolphins," in Scientific American, Vol. 233, No. 6, December, 1975, pp. 127-28.