Dolphins are capable of some amazing feats. Setting aside the fact that they can make a home out of the deadly ocean, they can leap and spin through the air with little effort. But their skills might not stop with mere physical prowess; mounting theories suggest that dolphins have a bond that goes well beyond normal.
It’s been known for a while that dolphins are intelligent, able to learn, and have a natural understanding of social groups. Part of that has to do with the limbic systems in their brains, which — much like humans — allows them to process emotions. But thanks to evolution, theirs grew so large that they gave rise to an entirely new lobe. The theory from there is that this new lobe is so developed because it sees frequent activity; essentially, dolphins’ intense social contact and bonding is thought to be the result of a “collective consciousness” that links their minds together. Emotions and information alike can be passed on, even without physical contact — and they’ll try to bond even if the recipient is human.
That’s the theory held by writer Susan Casey, even if it’s put her in the cross-hairs. Scientists have argued that there just isn’t enough evidence right now to know for sure, even with the current understanding of dolphin brains. Maybe someday we’ll know for sure how deep a dolphin’s bond goes — but for now, it’s clear that they go deep enough.