You might have already heard of unique friendships formed between different animal species.
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.
Have you ever heard of an animal adopting from another another species?
In a first-of-its-kind case known to humans, a bottlenose dolphin adopted a baby whale years ago and is still caring for it!
In 2014, researchers spotted 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 mysterious 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 even been performing dolphin behavior now as if it is being defined by the company it keeps.
Adoption is very uncommon 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 intrigued by adoption in the animal world because it was once considered a uniquely human behavior.
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