Robert L. Rankin was a seminal figure in late 20th and early 21st centuries in the field of Siouan linguistics. His knowledge, like the papers he produced, was voluminous. We have gathered here a representation of his work that spans over thirty years. The papers presented here focus on both the languages Rankin studied in depth (Quapaw, Kansa, Biloxi, Ofo, and Tutelo) and comparative historical work on the Siouan language family in general. While many of the papers included have been previously published, one third of them have never before been made public including a grammatical sketch and dictionary of Ofo and his final paper on the place of Mandan in the larger Siouan family.
This review of how dolphins are portrayed in popular media (including literature, film, television, and music) reveals four themes that may influence public acceptance of current scientific research into dolphin cognition. These themes are: (a) dolphin as peer to humans, of equal intelligence or at least capable of communicating with or helping humans; (b) the dolphin as the representation of a romantic notion of ideal freedom in nature, embodying principles of peace, harmony or love; (c) the dolphin as a naïve, innocent being that is subordinate and in need of human protection; and (d) the dolphin as superior to humans, potentially affiliating with a higher power or intelligence. This review revealed that the use of dolphins in humor reinforced or lampooned the four identified themes, indicating a common acceptance of these themes. The paper concludes with a discussion of the importance of considering popular narratives in the presentation of scientific research results.
In preparation for development of an exhibit on the cognitive abilities of dolphins, the Wildlife Conservation Society sought to determine potential visitor's social perspectives about dolphin intelligence, and how these beliefs might influence acceptance of scientific information. The study reported here used Q methodology to identify these underlying social perspectives. The study of adults and the study of children each revealed three distinct perspectives. While consensus emerged among adults on points about dolphins' high intelligence and communication abilities, the three perspectives differed in their acceptance of the extent of self-awareness, learning capacity, and affinity for humans shown by dolphins. Among children, consensus emerged about dolphins' physical abilities, but analysis found differences in belief regarding instinctive versus intentional behavior, mystical connections, and dolphins' relationship to humans. Agreement among all of these perspectives, particularly on the topic of communication, suggests powerful common ways to begin thinking about dolphin cognition. Conversely, the unique attributes of each perspective, and the potential for interaction between individuals with differing perspectives in an exhibit setting, provide opportunities to engage visitors in discussion about animal intelligence.