Human Dolphin Foundation

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"The Human Dolphin Foundation ( a non-profit 501 c 3) was started in 1976 by Dr. John C. Lilly MD, a neuro physiologist studying the brain. Looking for an intelligent being to develop a model for interspecies communication he discovered that dolphins had large and highly complex brains and pioneered human dolphin communication.

"Building upon work he started in the 1950s in St. Thomas and Florida, at the Communications Research Institute where he studied over 11,000 brain sections of the Bottle-nosed dolphin Tursiops Truncatus and published many scientific reprints on his findings. During the 1960s he studied dolphins living and working in close proximity with people in flooded salt water rooms at a lab in St. Thomas, The U.S. Virgin Islands. Little was known of the anatomy and physiology of dolphins at that time but the relatively large size of their brains and superior intra species communication led Dr. Lilly to develop.........

"Project Janus. Joint Analogue Numerical Understanding System. Toni Lilly obtained a donation of Mac computers from Steve Jobs and Burgess Meredith obtained the support of Joe Levine who produced The movie Day of the Dolphins starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere based on Dr. Lilly's work in the Virgin Islands. Joe Levine and Burgess Meredith obtained two very young dolphins and the JANUS Project started at Marine World/ Africa USA.

"Dolphin sounds that occur in ultrasound up to 200 Khz are too high for humans to hear but with the help of computer software, signal analyzers, frequency down-shifters, hydrophones, Apple II and Digital Equipment PDP 11/04 computers, Project Janus aimed to develop a 40 word, tone generated vocabulary. A third language neither English nor Delphinese..

"HDF considered the initial aim achieved but after several years the staff and volunteers of The Human Dolphin Foundation including; Jennifer Yankee, Tom Fitz, John Kert, Ed Ellsworth, Roberta Goodman, Barbara Clarke-Lilly and Marthe Spence among many others voted to re-adapt the JANUS dolphins, Joe and Rosie to the wild. In the first ever legally approved re-adaptation by National Marine Fisheries Services. With a donation from Brad Green one of our dedicated interns and with the help of ORCA under the guidance of Gigi Coyle,and Abigail Ailing, they were returned to the coast of Georgia close to where they were captured. Ric O'barry former Flipper trainer, now tireless anti-captivity activist and main man in the recent Oscar winning documentary 'The Cove' worked with the dolphins in Florida teaching them how to catch live fish from a salt water holding pen. They were freeze branded on their dorsal fins (a non intrusive method ) and swam off to freedom. They were sighted several times first alone and then with a larger pod in the coming year. "[1]



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  1. Human Dolphin Foundation Home, organizational web page, accessed June 25, 2013.