SO LONG (as they’re inedible, we’re on strike) AND (saying “no) THANKS FOR ALL FISH”

After the experiments, Hou and Malia remained highly creative in their behavior, which for Hou in particular involved a definite change in “character.” The dolphins became big nuisances, opening gates and even drawing the attention of trainers by leaving the water and sliding on the pool pavement. On one occasion the two porpoises were unintentionally inter-changed and had to perform each other’s show, although they had been trained to perform quite different acts. The dolphins did all the required acts, but in great agitation and sometimes in the wrong sequence. Still, their performance was good enough to have Pryor and her cotrainer discover only afterward that Malia and Hou had been mixed up.
In another experiment, a porpoise, after reliably showing correct responses, deliberately made a long series of 100% wrong choices to communicate the fact that the fish, used for reinforcement, was dried out and inedible. With the advent of fresh fish, the animal went back to a flawless performance (Pryor, 1975).

Pryor, K. W. (1975). Lads before the wind: Diary of a dolphin trainer.New York: Harper & Row.

Journal of History of the Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 39(3), 269–278 Summer 2003
Published online in Wiley InterScience (
DOI: 10.1002/jhbs.10112
2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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