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Daily WOW: Humpback whales show signs of altruism

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The Daily Catch - published on 08/29/16

In a perfect story for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, studies have found that humpback whales will intervene when they find orcas (killer whales) attacking other animals. They have been found to help seals, sea lions, grey whales and others:

The researchers found that many of the humpback whales that engaged in rescue attempts had scars on their bodies, indicating that they were survivors of orca attacks in their youth—it seemed plausible that they were simply responding to an unpleasant memory. The team notes that humpback whales are the only cetaceans (marine mammals that include dolphins, porpoise and whales) known to drive off killer whales under any circumstances—they regularly do so to protect their young. They suggest it might be accidental, as the whales have learned to respond to the sounds killer whales make when attacking—saving members of another species just occurs naturally as they seek to protect their own.

The whales get nothing from this exchange, sometimes going as far as to delay feeding or rest in order to fight the orcas. One humpback will fight up to 10 orcas and their battles can last longer than seven hours.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
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