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Distributed for Reaktion Books


From Flipper to SeaWorld, dolphins have long captured our hearts. We love these friendly, intelligent mammals, and they seem to return our feelings—they enjoy interacting with swimmers and have been known to encircle people under attack by sharks. Despite our familiarity with dolphins, though, we remain ill-informed about how they evolved, how they function, and how they have interacted with humans for millennia. Dolphin dives into the dolphin’s zoology, as well as its social and cultural history, to offer a comprehensive view of these delightful creatures.
Drawing on his years of experience working with and studying dolphins, Alan Rauch explores their propensity to live in pods and their ability to communicate through a variety of clicks, whistles, and other vocalizations. He examines their long relationship with humans, describing how they became the emblem of safe travel and charity, that the ancient Greeks featured them on coins, and that Hindu mythology associated them with Ganga, a river deity. As the rise in popularity of dolphinaria during the 1960s allowed the public access to dolphins, they became central characters in films like The Day of the Dolphin and Johnny Mnemonic and outsmarted humans in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Packed with images and thoughtful insights, Dolphin is a revealing look at one of our favorite sea creatures.

208 pages | 60 color plates, 40 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2014


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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“The dolphin, in history and mythology, in film and strip cartoon, and in the world of new age philosophy, is sensitively covered in Dolphin. Less sympathetic is Rauch’s coverage of our exploitation of these beautiful creatures . . . Rauch impressively summarizes what we know of the biological basis of dolphin behavior. . . . Sympathetic, but critically engaging, Dolphin is a worthy addition to Reaktion Books’ Animal series.”

Times Literary Supplement

Dolphin is a small and inexpensive gem of a book that packs a punch above its weight. . . . Brimming with information accessible to all, Rauch has used his experience with the subject matter to bring to life one of the most likeable and loved creatures on the planet.”  

The Biologist

Table of Contents


1              Zoology and Physiology: Evolution and Adaptation

2              Species of Dolphin: A Cosmopolitan Animal

3              The Dolphin in History and Mythology

4              Intelligence, Social Behaviour and Echolocation

5              Dolphin Dangers: Tuna, Predation, Pollution, Exploitation

6              Dolphins and Popular Culture



                Select Bibliography

                Associations and Websites


                Photo Acknowledgements



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