Jun 28, 2017 | Updated: 09:10 PM EDT

Scientists in the '60s (of Course) Gave Dolphins LSD In Hopes Of Communicating With Them

Jun 14, 2017 04:07 PM EDT

Dolphin Gives Birth At Six Flags Animal Discovery Park
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In the '60s, taking hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD was all the rage. So, when scientists wanted to introduce a few dolphins to Lucy, researchers said, "Sure, why not?"

Funded by NASA, the Communication Research Institute -- also known as The Dolphin House -- studied different methods to communicate with dolphins. 

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Neuroscientist John Lilly, who led the study, worked with three dolphins and decided to leave one in an isolation tank with a human for three months, 24 hours a day.

During Peter the dolphin's isolation, he began making sexual advances towards researcher Margaret Howe Lovatt, which she willingly chose to relieve.

Lovatt lived in The Dolphin House six days a week as part of her studies, though sexually stimulating Peter was not a requirement of the research.

"It was sexual on his part - it was not sexual on mine, sensuous perhaps," Lovatt said in an interview with BBC. "It would just become part of what was going on like an itch, just get rid of that ... scratch and we would be done and move on. I was there to get to know Peter, that was part of Peter."

Despite their efforts, and hours of training, the dolphins were still unable to learn English.

After administering the majestic mammals with LSD, however, researchers found that they were 70 percent more vocal.

"The important thing for us with the LSD in the dolphin is that what we see has no meaning in the verbal sphere," Dr. Lilly wrote. "We are out of what you might call the rational exchange of complex ideas because we haven't developed communication in that particular way as yet."

When the funding ran out in 1966, Peter was moved to a facility in Miami where he committed suicide. Some argue his demise was due to heartbreak.


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