Humpback whales may be altruistic

Researchers have found that humpback whales are often stopping orcas from attacking smaller sea animals, according to the Journal of Marine Mammal Science.

- Researchers have found that humpback whales are often stopping orcas from attacking smaller sea animals, according to the Journal of Marine Mammal Science.

89% of humpback whale and killer whale interventions seen were rescues involving seals, sea lions, grey whales, and ocean sunfish.

The other 11% were attacks on humpback calves. The humpback whales use orcas’ attack calls to track down orcas in hunt and then work in pairs to fend off orcas from their prey. Even alone one humpback will take on 10 or more orcas.

Humpbacks do not have teeth so they use their giant size as a battle advantage. The average humpback weighs 30-50 tons while the average orca weighs between 2 to 6 tons.

They will also bellow, block, and use their long flippers to keep orcas away from their prey. On average, the fights last anywhere from 1 to 7 hours. The crazy thing is, humpbacks gain absolutely nothing from these engagements. They forego opportunities to feed, rest, and socialize to rescue smaller animals. This has researchers looking into the possibility that humpback whales may very well be altruistic.

"Whale" there you have it. We should all take a page out of the humpbacks' book and stand up for the little guy today.

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