whale dolphin

Animals are people, too!

No, they’re not, not really. But I remember a scene in this terrible Greg Kinnear movie called Dear God where the characters say that the ability to care about people other than ourselves, even different from ourselves, is what separates man from beast. Wrong! Incorrect, Greg Kinnear movie! A pack of whales has accepted a deformed dolphin into their midst and now he is a part of their whale family.

National Geographic claims that the dolphin:

[Behavior ecologist] Wilson suggested that the dolphin’s peculiar spinal shape made it more likely to initiate an interaction with the large and slow-moving whales. “Perhaps it could not keep up with or was picked on by other members of its dolphin group,” he said in an email.

Poor bullied funny looking dolphin!

But why did the sperm whales let him join their group? Probably because their hearts are so big. Just whale sized. Enormous, really.

National Geographic claims:

the “million-dollar question,” as Wilson puts it, is why the whales accepted the lone dolphin. Among several theories presented in an upcoming paper in Aquatic Mammals describing the scientists’ observations, they propose that the dolphin may have been regarded as nonthreatening and that it was accepted by default because of the way adult sperm whales “babysit” their calves.

Sperm whales alternate their dives between group members, always leaving one adult near the surface to watch the juveniles. “What is likely is that the presence of the calves—which cannot dive very deep or for very long—allowed the dolphin to maintain contact with the group,” Wilson said.