Dolphins form life raft with their bodies to help dying dolphin breathe (video)

More amazing video of dolphins, this time working together as a group, as opposed to the video I posted the other day about a dolphin seeking help from scuba divers in Hawaii.

While last time the dolphin seemed to be trying to get help from man, this time the dolphins were filmed working together to try to save a dolphin comrade’s life.

I can think of people who wouldn’t even volunteer to help someone in need, let alone “animals.”

If you like nature, click through and read it all, because it’s a fascinating article.

New Scientist:


Note the one dolphin’s snout above water – this appears to be the dying dolphin that’s being helped to stay afloat.

The other dolphins crowded around it, often diving beneath it and supporting it from below. After about 30 minutes, the dolphins formed into an impromptu raft: they swam side by side with the injured female on their backs. By keeping the injured female above water, they may have helped it to breathe, avoiding drowning (see video, above).

After another few minutes some of the helper dolphins left. The injured dolphin soon dropped into a vertical position. The remaining helpers appeared to try and prop it up, possibly to keep its head above the surface, but it soon stopped breathing, say the researchers. Five dolphins stayed with it and continued touching its body, until it sank out of sight.

“It does look like quite a sophisticated way of keeping the companion up in the water,” says Karen McComb at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. Such helping behaviours are only seen in intelligent, long-lived socialMovie Camera animals. In most species, injured animals are quickly left behind.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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