So it is a wonderful surprise to see that there is at least one work done at Walt Disney World that had actually appeared in one of these journals:
Title: Bottlenose dolphins perceive object features through echolocation
Authors: Heidi E. Harley[1,2], Erika A. Putman and Herbert L. Roitblat
1. New College of Florida, Division of Social Sciences, 5700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34243, USA
2. Animal Programs, Walt Disney World Resort, Epcot's The Living Seas, EC TRL W-251, P.O. Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830, USA
3. DolphinSearch, Inc., 474 E. Main Street, Ventura, California 93001, USA
Nature, v.424, p.667 (2003).
Abstract: How organisms (including people) recognize distant objects is a fundamental question1. The correspondence between object characteristics (distal stimuli), like visual shape, and sensory characteristics (proximal stimuli), like retinal projection, is ambiguous. The view that sensory systems are 'designed' to 'pick up' ecologically useful information is vague about how such mechanisms might work2. In echolocating dolphins, which are studied as models for object recognition sonar systems, the correspondence between echo characteristics and object characteristics is less clear3. Many cognitive scientists assume that object characteristics are extracted from proximal stimuli, but evidence for this remains ambiguous. For example, a dolphin may store 'sound templates' in its brain and identify whole objects by listening for a particular sound. Alternatively, a dolphin's brain may contain algorithms, derived through natural endowments or experience or both, which allow it to identify object characteristics based on sounds. The standard method used to address this question in many species4, 5, 6, 7 is indirect and has led to equivocal results with dolphins8, 9, 10. Here we outline an appropriate method and test it to show that dolphins extract object characteristics directly from echoes.
What was amusing was that they showed a picture of three of the items used in this experiment as the "stimulus" objects. One was a wine bottle opener, another was an object shaped like an apple, and the last one was this plastic thingy in the shape of Mickey Mouse head! Only in Disney!!