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Troubled Waters for whales and dolphins

20 December 2006

Commercial whaling, noise and chemical pollution, huge fishing nets, habitat loss and climate change. The threats faced by whales and dolphins have never been so varied.

Humankind's volatile relationship with whales and dolphins, or cetaceans, is explored in a new Natural History Museum book, Troubled Waters.

A new Natural History Museum book Troubled Waters is published.

From harpooning over 1,000 years ago, Troubled Waters looks at the tragic implications of our actions on cetaceans and gives an up-to-date look at how we treat these creatures today.

Author Sarah Lazarus examines how cetaceans evolved from hoofed mammals 50 million years ago, and dispels some common misconceptions such as, are dolphins really supernaturally intelligent and are the great whales in danger of extinction?

There are amazing stories of close encounters, including dolphins rescuing swimmers, helping people fish and their use by the military.

Lazarus describes studies carried out to see how intelligent cetaceans are. There is evidence of self-awareness, cultural transmission (where animals develop and pass on new behaviour to their young) and the ability to learn new things quickly. These are behaviours found in more intelligent animals like us.

For a fascinating tale of the changing fortunes of whales and dolphins, get the Troubled Waters book now .