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Size Doesn’t Matter to a Dolphin Mom As She Adopts a Whale Calf

Discussion in 'Pets & Animals' started by Michie, May 24, 2021.

  1. Michie

    Michie Human rights begin in the womb. Supporter

    United States
    Off the coast of New Zealand, a group of marine biologists has discovered a mother bottlenose dolphin that had adopted a baby pilot whale.

    The Kiwi-based Far Out Ocean Research Collectivediscovered the mammals sailing in the Bay of Islands in Northern New Zealand, and has now documented the pair on two separate occasions five weeks apart.

    While it’s not unheard of that dolphins adopt other species’ babies, it’s very rare to record the phenomenon with such a significant difference in species size. Bottlenose dolphins can reach 300 kilograms, which is no small fry—except that pilot whales can grow to two tons and reach six meters in length.

    “She might have lost her own calf,” researcher Jochen Zaeschmar told local reporters of the dolphin’s behavior.

    The Independent reported in 2019 that researchers in French Polynesia found a bottlenose dolphin that had adopted a melon-headed whale calf, and that the pair stayed together for three years.

    Scientists don’t know why exactly this happens, and hypotheses exist that it’s misplaced mothering instinct—perhaps accentuated if a dolphin mother has lost her calf and finds a calf who has lost its mother. However the researchers in French Polynesia, pondering in their published paper on the finding, suggested it could be part of the mother’s “personality,” which is an endearing thought.

    Continued below.
    Size Doesn't Matter to a Dolphin Mom As She Adopts a Whale Calf
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  2. DragonFox91

    DragonFox91 Well-Known Member

    United States
    It's most likely the mom lost her own calf.

    Very cool tho. I wonder how it happens. The baby just swims up to the dolphin pod & the dolphins don't shoo it away & the baby just 'latches' onto one?
  3. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

    Wikipedia says bottlenose dolphins sometimes form mixed groups with pilot whales. Despite the name, pilot whales are also dolphins, though of course larger.