Carl Sagan went to the St. Thomas Dolphin Point laboratory in 1964 but little did he know at that time just how controversial the setting would eventually become.
Sagan was a member of a group with the name of The Order of the Dolphin and this was a secretive group. The name does not suggest it but in fact, the group was focused on looking for extra-terrestrial intelligence.
Another man in the group was Dr. John Lilly and he had written a book with the title of Man and Dolphin which had the theory that dolphins wanted to communicate with human beings. His writing set an experiment off that did not quite go as planned.
NASA Helped With Funding For Communication Between Humans And Dolphins
Frank Drake, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Green Bank Telescope was behind the Project Ozma. He was looking for alien life through radio waves that were being emitted from other planets. When he read the book wrote by Lilly he reached some parallels between his own work and that of Lilly’s. He helped to get funding from NASA along with other government agencies to realize his vision, a bridge of communication between dolphins and human beings.
He built a laboratory with workspace on the upper level along with an enclosure for dolphins on the bottom in the Caribbean and called it Dolphin Point. Margaret Howe Lovatt, aged 23, visited the lab and she was hoping to witness a breakthrough and see the stories she had heard about dolphins being able to communicate with humans.
She met with Gregory Bateson at the lab and was allowed to watch the dolphins and take notes while she watched them. Even though she did not have any training she was intuitive and was offered an open invitation and began to work with the dolphins. She helped them to create sounds that were human-esque but the whole process was tedious. She convinced Lilly to allow her to live in the lab and waterproofed the rooms in the upper part of the building and filled them with a few feet of water so that dolphins and humans could share the same space.
Male Dolphin Develops Sexual Urges For Trainer
Peter the dolphin was chosen for an immersive language experiment and Lovatt found that he was interested in anatomy. He would look at the backs of her knees for a long time and wondered how the legs worked. However, Peter then started to have urges and would rub himself on her knee, foot or hand and she had to force the dolphin back down into the water many times. She said that eventually, she decided to satisfy the dolphin’s sexual urges as it was easier to incorporate them and allow them to happen. She insisted that there was nothing sexual on her part, however, they did bond even closer. Drake became disappointed when he found out that the experiment was not going quite as planned with the dolphin language and could have been the beginning of the end for the funding. However, while the project was waning the attachment between Peter and Lovatt grew.
The live-in experience with the dolphins came to an end and it was not long before Peter the dolphin died, by suicide it seems. Apparently, dolphins require conscious effort to breathe and Peter just took a breath and sank to the bottom of his pool and never came up. It was said that he was heartbroken and could not understand why they had been separated.