Research suggests that, also like humans, dolphins possess a sense of self-awareness -- credited in part to their large, complex brains which bear striking similarities to ours.
Although it may be impossible to know for certain to how dolphin intelligence and consciousness compares with our own, numerous studies have found that they are capable of performing complex tasks and appear to recognize themselves as individuals.
"We went from seeing the dolphin/whale brain as being a giant amorphous blob that doesn't carry a lot of intelligence and complexity to not only being an enormous brain but an enormous brain with an enormous amount of complexity, and a complexity that rivals our own," says Emory University psychologist Dr Lori Marino, to the BBC.
"When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror and know that's you, you have a sense of 'you'. They have a similar sense. They can look in a mirror and say, 'Hey, that's me'."
Empirical proof of dolphin intelligence and consciousness may be hard to come by, but their interactions with us might offer the surest clues that while we may see differences between ourselves and them, they regard us closer to equals.