Animals never cease to amaze us with their kindness and compassion. We’ve seen dogs become surrogate mothers to animals from different species, we’ve seen rescued animals who have been the victim of unimaginable abuse open their hearts to humans again, and we’ve seen animals go above and beyond to protect their human guardians. Even animals who are not particularly known for the empathetic nature have astounded researchers with their tenderness.

In 2011, for example, behavioral ecologists Alexander Wilson and Jens Krause of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany were taken aback when they discovered that a group of sperm whales – animals not usually known for forging bonds with other species – had taken in a deformed adult bottlenose dolphin. The pod of sperm whales, as seen in the video above, completely welcomed this dolphin into their family, allowing the marine animal to swim with them, occasionally rubbing bodies as they traveled gently in beautiful unison.

Advertisement

The fact that these two species were able to forge a friendship of sorts is undoubtedly incredible and it also goes to show how much we have left to learn about marine animals in the ocean. While dolphins are known for their sociable tendencies and intelligence, clearly there are species out there that are capable of a great deal more compassion and intelligence than we give them credit for.