Dolphins have long been hailed as some of the most intelligent animals in the known world, capable of complex social interaction that rivals that of even chimpanzees. Now researchers have revealed that not only do these animals enjoy cross-species friendships, but they can also enter complex alliances that last generations.
Recently, a photo of a playful dolphin riding the nose of a humpback whale has been circulating around popular social media. It's a stunning display of cross-species friendship, and certainly something to be celebrated. However, this isn't some new and strange behavior seen among a few extra-progressive dolphins. According to researchers, this kind of thing has been happening for a long time.
We have long known that great apes can empathize and orphaned elephants can mourn. Now new research has revealed that dolphins practice what seems like ritualistic behavior on the advent of a death in the pod, supporting grieving members and even holding what seem like wakes for deceased calves.