Good news: Whale and dolphins are friends


44 Responses to “Good news: Whale and dolphins are friends”

  1. Mujokan says:

    I figure with higher mammals like this, just take out the idea of “thinking to yourself about what you are doing” and you more or less get what’s happening.

    You teach kids to talk to themselves while they are playing, so they start getting a narrative going. You can then catch them giving a running story of whatever is going on in the simulation. The difference with these animals is that they don’t have anything like our skills in language and other forms of abstract logic. Remove all that and it’s probably much the same sort of thing.

    • noen says:

      Except that if you could teach a lion to talk you still couldn’t understand him. Other species are alien to us in deep fundamental ways.

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      We aren’t mammals plus language. Language goes much deeper. It may not be going too far to say we are embodied language. The ability to find meaning is every bit as necessary for our physical well being as food, water and air. Language is the primary modelling/organising system through which we do this.

    • Kalma says:

      “The difference with these animals is that they don’t have anything like our skills in language”

      uh?  really?!  i am pretty sure that whales and dolphins are widely recognized as creatures with language, although we cannot understand it

      “and other forms of abstract logic. ”

      and you know because you can read their minds?

  2. lakelady says:

    “behaviors that go beyond simple eat/sleep/defend/breed necessities. Play might be learning. Play might be about forming social bonds that help an individual later on”

    Sound like what human kids are doing when they play

  3. awjt says:


  4. MelSkunk says:

    I want to ride the whale slide.. anyone know where I can get a dolphin suit?

  5. Max Dohle says:

    A dolphin is a Whale!

  6. Spirulina says:

    Such a beautiful video! Really made me happy.

  7. Lovely Maggie…thanks. Perfect little gem to start a Monday with.

  8. Richard Schneider says:

    Twice I have observed red fox and mule deer of assorted ages in behavior that I could only categorize as play.  These were brief interactions of a minute or so.  In both cases the deer appeared unalarmed, while the foxes bounced or pranced in front of them like playful dogs will do.   The deer appeared mildly curious.  Well, heck, they always do.  In one instance, a yearling deer pranced just a bit.  Eventually they edged around each other and went their respective ways, looking back at each other.  If it had been dogs and horses on a farm I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

  9. derek prowse says:

    The whale is the delivery platform, the dolphin is the surveillance package – in the coming WAR AGAINST THE HUMANS.

  10. thomadaeus says:

    Dolphin planking. So six months ago.

  11. terrycarroll says:

    Humans are animals. Animals don’t act like humans; humans act like animals. In that dolphins and whales preceded humans in earth’s bio-history, it would be more accurate to say that human play mimics cetacean play. And, in as much as we see putatively amazing examples of inter-specie play (OMG, whales and dolphins!), that’s as common as any YouTube video of chimps playing with kittens.

    As much as we now know about biology, evolution, and behavior, I’m bewildered by the continued us of the term “anthropomorphizing” when discussing “animal” behavior.

    • wysinwyg says:

      Yeah, unfortunately we don’t remember being non-verbal animals and we can’t reconstruct what it would be like to be non-verbal animals (because describing it requires language, creating a contradiction) so we’re kind of stuck working backwards.  Always good to be reminded of this kind of thing though.  Reminds me of watching a sped up video of crabs eating a whale carcass and someone talking about how crazy it looked.  “What’s so special about your frame rate?” was my response.

    • noen says:

      “I’m bewildered by the continued us of the term “anthropomorphizing” when discussing “animal” behavior.”

      Because us being animals is not enough to bridge the gap. We do not know what it is like to be a bat, to live upside down and see the world through the medium of sound.  We likewise do not know and cannot know what it is like to be a dolphin and to move through the sea and see it with the acoustic lens on our forehead. Or to be a shark and sense the electromagnetic pulses in the muscles of a dying fish. Or a pigeon or other bird who can sense the magnetic lines of the earth and knows the orientation of the sun because it shines through his skull to light up photo receptors in his brain.

      The world divides up the way we divide it up and different species do that differently and in ways that make their experiences unavailable to us.

      • summer says:

        there are actually two kinds of whales, and they see in different ways. you’re referring to toothed whales and sonar. baleen whales do not have sonar.

  12. we_tigers says:

    terrycarroll, I wish I could like that ten times.  Down with anthropocentricity.

  13. lmalsby says:

    Last August while driving along 101 north of Eureka CA, we came upon a whole herd of Elk (probably numbered 40 or so), and four horses just off in a clearing near the road.  One of the horses, and what I believe was a mature female elk were playing with each other… the nine-point buck laying just off to the side behind a large shrub keeping an eye on the “rough housing”.  It was a thing of beauty… and I’ve got the pics to remind me.  

    Thanks for posting.  I’m a long-time lurkergurl… happy to have such a pleasant  reason to make a post.

    Now back to my regularly scheduled mundane monday… sigh.

  14. chaopoiesis says:

    This is what happens when mammals go to art school.

  15. awjt says:

    Nuke the gay whales (& dolphins) for Jeebus.

  16. nmeyer79 says:

    What’s also so amazing- how were two different species able to communicate with and understand each other in order to coordinate the “game”!?

  17. robcat2075 says:

    “have you got a sec…?  My nose itches and I can’t reach it with my fin”

  18. doggo says:

    Pffhah! “Anthropomorphizing”. Overly cautious science people always have to have a disclaimer about anthropomorphizing so they don’t get accused of being a whacko animal lover.

    As said earlier in the comments, whales and dolphins are animals, so are people. 

    Be observant, all mammals engage in play. Just as all mammals present emotions. Dogs show fear, so do humans. Humans cuddle their children, so do hedgehogs. Cats and horses have friendships. People do too.

    So let’s not be afraid to note behavior in our fellow animals without a disclaimer; “I know they’re not human, but these animals engage in behavior similar to behavior humans sometimes engage in. But be assured, I don’t think they’re human, they’re just animals. But it’s really cute.”

  19. The Hamster King says:

    “Ohhhhhh … the whales and the dolphins can be friends!
    Oh, the whales and the dolphins can be friends!
    One of them likes to suck up krill,
    The other echolocates with skill,
    But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends!”

  20. Richard Schneider says:

    I just hope this doesn’t lead to dolphin juggling … but on the other hand, they might well enjoy it.  Wheee!

  21. ymr049c says:

    “I know the whale and dolphin can peacefully coexist.”

    Also, a year or two ago, there was a video of an elk playing in a mud puddle.
    And I’m not just interpreting it as play. You can hear it shout, “Look at me plaaayyyy!!!”

  22. Mitch_M says:

    I think we need to use more “anthropomorphic” sounding words like “play”. Non-human animals are more like us that it is convenient for us to acknowledge.

  23. vonskippy says:

    Maybe someday those scientists will discover the video camera and then could put together a little dolphin/whale interaction documentary that wouldn’t bore the bejeebers out of everyone watching their throw back to the filmstrip days.

    • summer says:

      hey, if you bought them a water-proof video camera, I bet they would be happy to use it.

      still cameras are a mainstay on boats that track whales because still photography is used by whale scientists to identify a whale by it’s tail fluke.

  24. Martijn says:

    How is this good news? Whales and dolphins friends? More like allies. Conspiring. Against us.

  25. greggman says:

    I guess you didn’t know they have a Whalphin at the Oahu Aquarium. They claim at night they open the gates to all the pools and one thing led to another. 

    So yea, dolphines and whales *play* together.

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