Formula of love: dolphin and student

Formula of love: dolphin and student

Categories: Animals | Science

Whatever does not become the subject of research by scientists. Their interest truly knows no bounds. The biggest mystery is the brain and psyche of living beings. History knows many dubious experiments in this area. In 1958, neuroscientist John C. Lilly studied dolphin-human communication at a research center in the Virgin Islands. His work became notorious.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

The concept of the American scientist was based on the fact that children master the speech of their parents. Being in constant contact with the mother, the child learns to distinguish sounds, phrases and their meanings. John Lilly suggested that a man and a dolphin would be able to find a “common language” if they were constantly nearby.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

The scientist decided to find out the truth experimentally. The experiment involved the doctor's junior assistant Margaret Howe and a young dolphin named Peter.

In 1965, at the St. Thomas Science Center, a small villa was specially equipped so that a dolphin and a person could live in it at the same time. The two-room house was partially filled with water. The water level was low enough for Margaret to move freely and Peter to swim comfortably. The assistant slept on a floating bed and worked at a table submerged in water. The participants in the experiment had to spend some time together in close proximity.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

According to the script by Dr. John Lilly, Margaret was to play the role of a mother. Her task was to teach her ward human speech, while at the same time trying to understand his signals. The assistant was not allowed to leave the unusual home. It was also necessary to keep a diary in which the events of the day and the behavior of the experimental dolphin were recorded. Later, this diary became a godsend for filmmakers.

Dr. John Lilly had high hopes for the experiment. He outlined the bright prospects for scientific work to congressmen in order to obtain federal appropriations. It should be recognized that at that time the neuroscientist made several fateful discoveries and inventions: an isolated pressure chamber, a device for measuring gas pressure.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

At first, the experiment followed the expected scenario. Margaret Howe worked and relaxed in “one dimension” with a dolphin. Two intelligent beings peacefully shared one space between them. The assistant played ball with Peter for hours. She encouraged the test subject when he made “human” sounds instead of the usual dolphin chatter. Often she had to be distracted from filling out the diary because Peter demanded attention.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

Gradually his behavior began to change. The dolphin made it clear that he needed not a nanny, but a girlfriend. Peter lost interest in studying. Playing with a ball together quickly turned into courtship. The young dolphin gently nibbled Margaret's legs and became very angry when she did not reciprocate. He nudged his assistant with his nose and hit him with his flippers. The girl's body quickly became covered with painful bruises.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

Margaret Howe had to wear rubber boots to protect her feet from the blows. Trying to cool down the love fervor of her persistent suitor, she armed herself with a broom. The measures taken did not affect Peter at all and he continued to persistently demand love. Then Margaret began to briefly release the dolphin for mating games with its relatives in the common pool. The strange behavior of the test subject negatively affected the assistant’s peace of mind. Outbursts of anger gave way to depression, Margaret felt tired and increasingly said that she was not ready to continue working.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

From a scientific point of view, Peter put the experiment in jeopardy. Being in the company of his relatives, he risked quickly losing the new skills that he had developed in the company of Margaret Howe. But as soon as he was returned to the flooded house, the dolphin immediately resumed his courtship. The subject learned his lesson and replaced strength and determination with tact and tenderness. Now from time to time he affectionately stroked his beloved’s legs.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

The fact that a dolphin can develop feelings for a person has become a sensation and at the same time a complete failure. The subject completely refused to study, devoting all his time to courting Margaret Howe. Dr. John Lilly assured congressmen that he could get the desired results with another dolphin. However, some in the government decided that the research was too expensive and funding was stopped.

The ambiguous results of experiments with a dolphin did not satisfy the scientist’s obsession. He was planning to conduct research with another dolphin for one year. The neuroscientist firmly believed that dolphins were intelligent enough to master human speech. The project turned out to be too expensive, Washington refused to pay for it.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

After funding ceased, John Lilly began stimulating experimental mammals with LSD. His publications about the results of scientific research stirred the public. But soon the narcotic drug was banned at the legislative level.

Junior assistant Margaret Howe successfully completed the experiment. Later the girl met a young man whom she married. Sometimes she remembers with nostalgia her work with Dr. John Lilly and her experiences with Peter.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

The dolphin, like all his relatives, turned out to be a monogamous person. He could not survive the separation from his beloved, even though she was a representative of a different species. Peter became depressed and died.

Formula of love: dolphin and student

John C. Lilly wrote several articles about the Virginia experiment. He also wrote 13 books, including “The Dolphin Mind” and “Man and the Dolphin.” A book about programming the human brain using LSD caused a lot of noise and thoroughly damaged the scientist’s reputation. The book “Man and the Dolphin” gave the idea for the fantasy melodrama “The Shape of Water,” which was released on the big screen in 2017. The filmmakers almost completely distorted the events, taking as a basis only the unexpected results of the infamous scientific experiment. The film, starring Sally Hawkins, won four Oscars.

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