The Dolphin Alliance Project, Inc. is a 501c3 foundation that seeks to understand why dolphins have such large brains and high intelligence, a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades and fascinated people for centuries. Extreme brain size and intelligence in humans and dolphins likely evolved for the same reason; individuals with greater social intelligence were better at navigating the most complex social networks found on land and in the sea.

The 'Rosetta Stone' for understanding the intelligence of wild dolphins is found in the blue waters of Shark Bay, Western Australia; 500 miles north of Perth and home to a large population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins.  Over thirty years of research in Shark Bay has revealed a social network more complex than that found in any non-human species. The male dolphins form three levels of nested alliances that more closely resemble human political alliances than anything found in other species, including our closest relative, the chimpanzee. 

Our discoveries have been featured in television documentaries by NOVA and The National Geographic Society, which has sponsored The Dolphin Alliance Project since its’ inception in the mid 1980s.  The Dolphin Alliance Project has published numerous articles in the top scientific journals and has attracted great interest from multiple academic disciplines, with invitations to speak around the world to audiences of biologists, anthropologists, cognitive psychologists and political scientists. 

Please consider making a donation to support our research