After 28 years studying the same family of wild spotted dolphins in the Bahamas, Denise Herzing knows three generations of dolphin kin: toddlers to grandmothers.

She knows so many things about their lives and communication methods that she can tell us what they have to share with us.

Image: Three generations of spotted dolphins

Source: Planet Whale

They have a social structure not so different from ours: they have names for each other, they must resolve conflicts, coordinate their shared efforts, nurture the next generation, and many other human-like complexities.

The spotted dolphins will even babysit the calves of the neighborhood bottlenose dolphins and vice versa!

Here’s an amazing TED Talk with Denise Herzing, who brings these animals’ lives into familiar focus for us:

Via: TED 1

Intriguing stuff! Sometimes I wonder if one day we will look back at how we now define “intelligence” and shake our heads in embarrassment.

Play is perhaps the most telling behavior.

Engaging in play demonstrates an elective search for joy. We used to think animals were all instinct and automated purpose, but inviting the divers into dolphin games means we have to rethink all that. Keep in mind those were wild dolphins. They were free to swim off at any time, but they were interested in a new system that could include fun!

This made me rethink how I organize the world into “them and us.” That line is a little more blurry now!

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Communicating with wild dolphins: Why should we care?

This is just one tiny example of the knowledge and innovation the negative 24-hour news cycle is failing to celebrate. When this sort of wonder gets lost in the chaos, we are all a little more lost ourselves.

We’ve lost the heroes and mentoring we used to get from learning about the innovators on the nightly news.

Here’s just a small sample of that:

We’ve written hundreds and hundreds of carefully fact-checked articles about innovation and insight. Through this, we’ve noticed some patterns we could all learn from and use in our own lives!

There are three elements that seem to be common to people of great success:

  • They tend to persevere way past the point when others would move on.
  • They are at ease with risk-taking and constantly employ a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” mentality.
  • They think to combine things that no one else has put together.

Think about this for a moment, and as always, stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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  1. Herzing, Denise. “Denise Herzing: Could We Speak the Language of Dolphins?” YouTube. TED, 6 June 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. <>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!