Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dolphins, helped and helping

A few stories about dolphins caught my eye recently:

  • In the Azores in 2011, German researchers observed sperm whales interacting with a bottlenose dolphin that had a spinal deformity (image above).
  • Korean-based scientists witnessed long-beaked common dolphins in the East Sea off the coast of South Korea support a dying companion by making a raft with their bodies to keep it afloat.
  • Last month, a bottlenose dolphin off the coast of Hawaii vocalized and swam into a snorkeler to indicate that it needed help being disentangled from some fishing line (video here).

Scientists are very cautious about ascribing altruism to dolphins and other animals, but it's hard not to project.

 

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