New research is showing that whales and dolphins possess intelligence and culture more complex that we had previously assumed, says Margi Prideaux. And, she argues, this raises anew the question of how we should relate to them - including whether it is ever right to hunt them.
Despite long held preconceptions of human pre-eminence, scientists are discovering sophisticated intelligence beyond the boundaries of our own species.
It may surprise us, but dolphins and whales have such qualities.
Is it possible that 2010 could be remembered as the year when we faced our insecurities and embraced other highly evolved species, with all the responsibility that entails?
This year, which is set to be an eventful one, started with a physical clash between whalers and activists in the Southern Ocean.
Perhaps our unfulfilled anticipation of action on climate change late last year made us reach for progress somewhere else - namely biodiversity.
The confrontation between whalers and campaigners sparked a global debate about how we regard other species on the planet.
In this case, it was asked whether whales and dolphins exist as a resource for humans, or whether they have an inherent right to their life, their liberty and their home.
We're not unique, just at one end of the spectrum.
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