Sperm Whales Adopt Deformed Dolphin

by Chelsea Wald

Sperm whales are fierce squid hunters, but they also have a softer side. In a serendipitous sighting in the North Atlantic, researchers have discovered a group of the cetaceans that seem to have taken in an adult bottlenose dolphin with a spinal malformation, at least temporarily. It may be that both species simply liked the social contact. Creatures form “friendly” connections with members of other species throughout the animal kingdom. These often short-lived relationships can offer increased protection from predators and more effective foraging.

behavioral ecologists Alexander Wilson and Jens Krause of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin did not expect to find a mixed-species group when they set out to observe sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) some 15 to 20 kilometers off the island of Pico in the Azores in 2011. But when they got there, they found not only a group that included several whale calves, but also an adult male bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus). Over the next 8 days, they observed the dolphin six more times while it nuzzled and rubbed members of the group...

(read more: Science NOW)          

(photos: Alexander D. M. Wilson/Aquatic Mammals)

  1. songsofthesilent reblogged this from absinthiumartemisia
  2. infanteslibris reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  3. sadnessfactory reblogged this from thewaterwillcome
  4. thewaterwillcome reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  5. twentyfirstcentury-schizoidgirl reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  6. anecdotaldarling reblogged this from sojourneraletheion
  7. nyukya reblogged this from lostintheuk
  8. askmeiwontsayno reblogged this from invisiblelad
  9. jen-the-dead-pariah reblogged this from ionsfolly
  10. nelmore0215 reblogged this from sex-drugs-tats-n-cats
  11. sex-drugs-tats-n-cats reblogged this from allcolorsturnedtogrey
  12. avancidy reblogged this from what-the-actual-fudge
  13. graveforth reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  14. aquapsych reblogged this from uniquelyspontaneous
  15. uniquelyspontaneous reblogged this from caged-freedom
  16. chani90 reblogged this from lilyginnyblack
  17. zada2011 reblogged this from sparkylurkdragon
  18. sparkylurkdragon reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  19. l-enfant-lune reblogged this from thefirsttimeeverilaywithyou
  20. thesun-rises reblogged this from emdubyoo
  21. emdubyoo reblogged this from gaaaaaahgkjhgakjg
  22. mountmelikeabutterfly reblogged this from swallowingteeth
  23. gutter-snipe reblogged this from caged-freedom