A paper published this summer looked into over 100 times humpbacks were observed disrupting orcas who are hunting, like these humpbacks trying to save a gray whale and calf. But why do they do it?
Scientists propose the whales either mob like this to save a fellow humpback then stick around to help whatever is being hunted, or they just hate orcas and love their fellow sea friends, formally known as "interspecies altruism." The study examined MEKWs, or mammal-eating killer whales:
More often though, humpbacks approached MEKWs that were attacking prey species that were clearly not humpbacks (e.g., a gray whale calf with its mother, a seal hauled out on an ice floe, a sunfish), and although the humpbacks faced little risk of serious injury, they also gained no obvious benefits for their time and energy spent. However, if the net effect for mobbing humpbacks was an increase in their individual or inclusive fitness through kin selection or reciprocity, then this behavior could persist even if it inadvertently benefitted other species sometimes.
• Humpback whales interfering when mammal-eating killer whales attack other species: Mobbing behavior and interspecific altruism? (h/t The Dodo)
David Dockery performed a drum solo of the climactic scene in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Then Dan Felix upped the game with a saxophone accompaniment to the original.
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There are a lot of high-tech drones and RC planes flooding the market lately, and the innovations are coming so fast on each new iteration, most of them forget one crucial thing: Flying these is supposed to be fun. Here’s an alternative that keeps that ethic firmly in mind: The Moskito Smartphone-Controlled Plane. This thing […]
There are few intellectual exercises better than a good game of chess against a capable opponent, which is why a lot of old hands at the gameplay it online. But there’s still nothing like the tactile thrill of moving a knight into checkmate. (Or sweeping the pieces off dramatically when you lose.) That’s why we’re […]