Rare Case – Dolphin Mom Adopts Baby Whale

You might have already heard of unusual friendships formed between different animal species.

You probably saw many different cases, like the tiger, bear and lion who were the best of friends, or more common ones such as a dog and a cat, cat and a bird or something similar,

But have you ever heard of an animal adopting from another another species?

It is known to be first of its kind, a bottlenose dolphin adopted a baby whale years ago and they are still together!

In 2014, researchers found a bottlenose mother caring for an unusual-looking male calf.

This was along with what was presumed to be her biological calf, in coastal waters off French Polynesia.

While bottlenose dolphins have slender beaks, the other one month old’s beak was short and blunt.
Eventually, the scientists identified the orphan as a melon-headed whale which is an entirely different species and genus of dolphin.

The baby whale has seen performing dolphin behavior now as if it is being defined by the company it keeps.


Adoption is very rare case among wild mammals, with most occurring between related members of the same species.

The only other scientifically documented case involving an adopted orphan of a different species and genus was in 2006.

This was when University of São Paulo primatologist Patrícia Izar observed a group of capuchins caring for a baby marmoset. “At the time, we were really, really astonished,” she says.

Scientists are especially curious by adoption in the animal world because it was once considered a uniquely human behavior.

Originally appeared on National Geographic

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