National Geographic : 1979 Apr
And that in turn might yield some clues to an even deeper puzzle: How did human lan guage itself evolve? That next step never came. Showing me around, Dr. Herman paused before a black board. It still bore a message chalked there months earlier, preserved bitterly like a wartime ruin: WENT SURFIN'-KENNY, PUKA, STEVE AND KEA. ALOHA. Late one night two former attendants, Kenneth LeVasseur and Steven Sipman, had loaded the dolphins into a van and released them into the open ocean. Dr. Herman was convinced that his ani mals were dead. They were Atlantic dol phins, and had been hand-fed for more than eight years. It was unlikely, he felt, that their Hawaiian cousins would accept them, and without the security of a herd they might be easy prey for sharks. He did see Kea again soon after her release in Oahu's Yokohama Bay. Efforts to recapture her failed, for ironically she had been taught to avoid a net, but for two days and nights someone remained in the water with her. "She came to me, whistling excit edly," Dr. Herman related. "I realized how strange this new place must be for her, how frightening. One of her eyes had been in jured; it was completely closed. But I felt she was comforted by my presence." Time and again the dolphin circled him, swam out to sea, and came back. But then, midway through the second night, she failed to return. "I knew I'd never see her again," he said, in a voice that I could barely hear. Not far away, in a small apartment near Punchbowl Crater, I found a man who was equally moved by Kea's release.