FYI: Dolphins used to look like people. People from Atlantis.

I love Pravda. Not since the Weekly World News closed all the shutters has a “news source” delivered such classic headlines as, “Dolphins used to look like humans and lived in Atlantis.” It’s short, intriguing, yet pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Those curious enough to keep reading will be treated to tidbits such as, “So the ancestors of dolphins decided to possess an ability that would enable them to “see” with their ears by listening to echoes.” Not mentioned in the article is how humans evolved due to monkeys one day deciding to possess the ability to drive station wagons and cook fondue.

The article cites some prominent sources to back up its slightly less than believable claim. For instance, there’s “Dr. Leslie Huskerway, a biologist.” Google has never heard of him/her, but a biologist should know what he/she is talking about when it comes to dolphins and evolution.

The crackerjack team that deduced the Atlantean-dolphin connection was simply identified as “Australian scientists.” I invite my Austalian readers to look into that.

The article goes on to name “researchers at Melbourne University” as those who discovered “that the dolphin was the nearest relation of the human being.” Though that statement is patently absurd, my research has shown that Melbourne University actually does exist, so kudos to Pravda for that.

“Professor A. Portman” is brought into the mix on the 2nd page. Prof. Portman works at the “Basel-based Institute of Zoology (Switzerland),” which doesn’t appear to exist per se. If we’re actually talking about the Zoological Institute of the University of Basel, then Prof. A. Portman doesn’t appear to exist. However, it’s very likely that Prof. Portman’s research is top secret, hence the reluctance to leak his or her real first name to the Russian press.

Then, there’s “American neurophysiologist John Lilly,” who is mentioned for his research into dolphin communication:

Lilly is confident that scientists will make enormous progress in many fields once verbal contact between humans and dolphins is established.

Big points to Pravda for choosing a real scientist! Except, negative points for failing to realize that Lilly died in late September.

Late September, 2001.

Look, whatever. The important thing to remember is that as a very wise Perry DeAngelis once noted, “Dolphins and monkeys basically could play chess together.”

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Also Check out, its a great source for weird news. Thats where I found this. But I bet this even had people stupid enough to believe in Atlantis laughing their asses off at this article.

  2. Oh, nice snark! Admittedly, it's an easy target, but your pacing is excellent, with a definite bouquet of ozone and scorched bear…

    I doubt chess, but I wonder if the likes of Koko could manage checkers….

  3. I always had the feeling that the publishers of Weekly World News knew their readers were in on the joke. With the constant reuse of the 'bat boy' photo it reminded me of the Onion, sort of.

    With Pravda, they have these wacky stories intermingled with real news stories, which is a bit disturbing.

  4. I agree with HitchensZone; I'm not sure if Pravda has the same deadpan humor as the WWW.

    And nice plug for Fark, TomDG. I love them because they refuse to take even themselves seriously.

    As to dolphins and John Lilly, I recall his research was a bit questionable, at least toward the end. But I guess that just makes his inclusion in this article all the more appropriate.

  5. During basic survey classes in college I remember thinking that any discipline that needs to spend the first day of class or the first chapter of the book explaining why it is a worthy field of study probably isn't one.

    Likewise, any news source that calls itself "truth" in it's native language is probably reaching a bit. That was certainly the case for Pravda under the Soviets. Why would anything have changed.

    There is an extensive series of soviet newsreels collectively called KinoPravda that's fascinating for those interested in the history and evolution of documentary film, though.

  6. ThomasFromAtlanta said:

    There is an extensive series of soviet newsreels collectively called KinoPravda that’s fascinating for those interested in the history and evolution of documentary film, though.

    I had the priviledge of watching a short KinoPravda film directed by Dziga Vertov, with a new score performed live by composer Michael Nyman, while I was in London this past year. It was an interesting piece, to be sure, all about the illness and death of Lenin. Very clever documentary, far more shrewd than Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda yet still clearly crafted to produce an impression of the Soviet machine as an all-powerful, benevolent force.

    It's funny, thinking about that film now in relation to what the Pravda newspaper has become. At least the newsreels had some art and skill towards them. Pravda's current reportage is sorely lacking in either, though it DOES make up for that sad fact with some great humor (unintentional or otherwise). Atlantean Dolph-men indeed…

    And precisely where does the Wholphin fit into this scheme, I should like to know??

  7. hey, don't foget though that Carl Sagan was a member of the Order of the Dolphin. This whole dolphin language thing wasn't always a joke.

  8. Thanks to this article, I now have a new life goal. I want to become well-known enough that after I"m dead, I become a source for amusingly fake news stories.

    Some people might argue that this is a terrible life goal, but that's just because they wish they'd thought of it first.

  9. Actually, to be pedantic, Melbourne University doesn't exist, it is the "University of Melbourne". I know because I was a student there along with all the other dolphins.

  10. We should totally use this against creationist who deny evolution. If Atlanteans evolved into dolphins, that's proof of evolution isn't it?

  11. Sadly, I used the article as a way of getting people to check their sources and for critical thinking, and some of my family took as further evidence for Intelligent Design. I now have to work a lot harder for them to believe that evolution is viable.

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