Studies suggest that a variety of dolphins and whale species grieve for their dead. These species can range from a small spinner dolphin to larger animals such as pilot whales and sperm whales.
Interpretation of the grieving remains contested. A female dolphin may carry its deceased calf around for days, until the body is in such a state of decomposition that only the head or part of the body remains.
In some observations, the dolphins maintained constant physical contact with dead individuals. They swam around the dead body, sometimes nudging and attempting to push it underwater. If observers approached the scene too closely, they would even carry the carcass away, as if reluctant to let go.
There are dozens of photos and YouTube videos of grieflike behavior in dolphins: Some mothers have been seen carrying their dead infants in their mouths or on their backs for a week or longer, even as the body decomposes; a couple adult males have also been seen holding dead calves in their mouths.
We know that dolphins are one of the most intelligent mammals on the planet and if they are capable of feeling other emotions then it stands to reason that they also experience grief. There are multitudes of videos online showing dolphins exhibiting grief like behaviour.
Countless studies have been done on the capacity of animals—both human and nonhuman—to show empathy for one another. Most scientists agree that empathy is an evolutionary advantage reserved for the smartest mammals, including great apes, dolphins and humans.
And new research suggests that yet another species mourns its dead: the spotted dolphin. Scientists have long observed dolphin rituals around death that suggest they don't like to leave their dead companions behind, reports Mary Bates for Wired.
Dolphins are known for their exceptional cognitive abilities, and one of their most impressive skills is their memory. Dolphins have a remarkable long-term memory and can remember specific individuals, sounds, and even tasks they learned in the past.
No one knows why, but dolphins have been saving people for thousands of years. Dating back to Ancient Greece, there are dozens of claims of dolphins rescuing people from sharks, helping drowning sailors, and guiding boats through rough waters. But it's not just ancient mythology – it's still happening all the time.
The discovery of spindle cells in the brains of some whale and dolphin species provides good supporting evidence that these species may be capable of experiencing complex emotions such as empathy and indeed that this emotion may provide an important evolutionary advantage for these highly social species.
Animal death rituals certainly aren't limited to the land and air. Dolphins have been known to spend time with the bodies of their fallen companions. They also use their heads and backs to hold up dead calves for up to thirty minutes before finally letting go.
Dolphins are not monogamous animals and do not typically mate for life. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins live in what are called fission-fusion societies, where pods are constantly changing in size and numbers. Some believe bonds between males are the strongest and most enduring in bottlenose dolphin societies.
As a child, you may remember squealing and screaming when you were excited about something. It turns out that humans aren't the only species that gets noisy when they're happy: New research shows that whales and dolphins “squeal with delight” to express glee, too.
Truly wild dolphins will bite when they are angry, frustrated, or afraid. They are disturbed when people try to swim with them.
Dolphins may look like they're happy to us, but their “smiles” are illusions. When humans smile, we signal happiness, contentment, and enjoyment to each other. But a dolphin's toothy grin is not an expression of joy – this is simply an anatomical anomaly.
Anyone who has seen a beached dolphin or beached whale knows how important it is for them to always be in the water. Most beached dolphins can only survive on land for a short time (a few hours) before becoming dehydrated, especially in warm or hot climates.
In conclusion, the combination of dolphins' intelligence, physical abilities, and social structure, as well as their potential to produce an electrical field, makes them formidable predators in the ocean, and this is why sharks are often so afraid of them.
DON'T push the animal back out to sea!
Stranded marine mammals may be sick or injured. Returning animals to sea delays examination and treatment and often results in the animal re-stranding in worse condition. DO stay with the animal until rescuers arrive, but use caution.
It is not known exactly why this is, but there appears to be an innate affinity. Many studies have found that when a dolphin cannot find friends of its own species, it often turns to humans for companionship instead. Dolphins are also known to follow along with fishing boats and those who are snorkeling.
CHIMPANZEES. RECKONED to be the most-intelligent animals on the planet, chimps can manipulate the environment and their surroundings to help themselves and their community. They can work out how to use things as tools to get things done faster, and they have outsmarted people many a time.
Dolphins of many species release bursts pulses when they are excited or angry, and burst pulses are thought to convey information about a dolphin's emotional state.
Using echolocation, dolphins might be able to detect a pregnant woman's developing fetus, some experts say. Dolphins emit sounds in their environment and listen to the echoes that return — a process that helps them identify the shapes and locations of objects.
Elephants Grieve and Understand Death
Elephants are the most well-known animal species that mourn their dead. They often visit the carcass of a fallen loved one and keep returning even when the body has decomposed, and all that is left are sun-bleached bones.
Call your local Marine Wildlife Rescue operator immediately and take their advice.
Although dolphins may seem curious, many of their behaviors are often misinterpreted as “friendly” when they actually are, in fact, signs of disturbance or aggression. If a dolphin approaches you in the water, do not engage, pursue, or otherwise interact with the dolphin, and take immediate steps to move away.