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They have been portrayed in art and literature throughout the centuries, and some have believed dolphins are more intelligent than humans. They have also been the subject of great myths throughout the ages, such as one old Roman story of a dolphin which followed a boy to school every day. What's the truth?

In fact, scientists have discovered dolphins have a brain-to-body mass equal to humans. Scientists say dolphins are very intelligent, but they also have less brain cells than a man does, so they couldn't be that smart. Actually, they have come to believe they are about as smart as a monkey.

Dolphins have been known to save people from drowning. Do they actually have a special love for humans, as some believe? Actually scientists say dolphins do love people--because of the sea creature's playful nature, and people love to play with them. They may save people because of that nature, and they have also been known to drag other dolphins to shore as well as mattresses. They could also save people because of instinct.

Dolphins love to look at themselves if a mirror is nearby. They will have a look of disgust at any imperfection on their bodies, such as a black circle.

Dolphins have a special way of communicating with other dolphins. They use the same ultrsonic sound or sonar that they use for navigation. They have a more sophisticated language than other creatures and have been seen chatting to one another for long periods of times. Dolphins don't have vocal chords, however, and can't use facial expressions or body language like humans.

Dolphins use sonar, because their eyes are on the sides of their bodies. They can't see ahead.

It is because of their playful nature that dolphins love to play with their favorite toy--man, who also sometimes brings other toys: balls, hoolhoops and rings. A dolphin will often keep a ball for itself. Dolphins also love to swim beside boats. It may be their playful nature that makes them easy to train to be heroes in television and movies. They can easily be trained to jump through hoops. Their playful nature may also be why dolphins are more content in captivity than other creatures.

Dolphins are social creatures, not only because they like people, but also because they like to swim together--at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour. They swim together to protect their young, look for food and for self-defense. A group of dolphins swimming together might even attack a whale.

Dolphins can never completely sleep, because they would drown. Instead they rest half their bodies at a time.

People have been known to be cured of cancer after swimming with dolphins. They have sometimes believed it is the ultrasonic sound they give off, although it may actually be human willpower. People have also used dolphins to swim with mentally retarded people.

People have sometimes believed dolphins love people in a special way because of their smile or a contented look in their eyes. Actually, because of the way their body is formed, dolphins appear to be smiling even when angry.

The next time you think of "Flipper" and think dolphins may rescue humans because of a great love for people, remember that may not be true. It is true, however, that dolphins do have a love for people because of a playful nature and are more intelligent and have a more sophisticated language than other creatures.