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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6 Responses to “Dolphins form life raft with their bodies to help dying dolphin breathe (video)”

  1. Tim Kane says:

    As a kid I used to wonder, what human existence would be like if we had wings on our backs like the depictions of angels, allowing us to fly where ever we wanted to go. Then at some point I realized, maybe we’d be like the dolphins.

    The one flaw in the dolphin situation is they are confined to the oceans, which happens to be the toilet bowl for humanity.

  2. AdmNaismith says:

    My husband and I kept a trio of rats for a while. They all dies of natural causes. The first one to go died over a couple of days. The other two rats layed on either side of him keeping him warm and still until he died. I’ve seen people treat other people with less consideration.

    These dolphins do not surprise me. Anyone who says that animals have no emotions or sense of other animals are liars or dead inside.

  3. “Dumb Animals”? HARDLY…..

  4. BeccaM says:

    Given how inhumane we often are, I wonder if we should coin a new word to describe the opposite.

    Dolphine (n). Selfless, compassionate, self-sacrificing, empathic, xenophilic.

  5. Dano2 says:

    And recently we had some villagers kill hundreds of dolphins in some payment dispute. But we are the highly evolved ones.



  6. I say we give the planet to the Dolphins. They’re more human than the vast majority of humans I encounter.

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