You may have heard of the unique friendships formed between different animal species, like tigers, bears, and lions who were best friends, or more common like dogs and cats, cats and birds or something like that.
Have you ever heard of an animal adopted from another species?
In the first case known to humans, a bottlenose dolphin adopted a baby whale many years ago and is still taking care of it!
In 2014, researchers found a bottlenose dolphin tending to an unusual-looking male calf.
This was along with what was believed to be her biological calf in the coastal waters of French Polynesia.
While bottlenose dolphins have slender beaks, the mysterious one-month-old beak was short and blunt.
In the end, the scientists identified the orphan as a melon whale, which is a completely different species and genus of dolphins.
The baby whale has even been performing dolphin behavior now as if it is being identified by the company it keeps.
Adoption is very uncommon among wild mammals, most occurring between related members of the same species.
The only other scientifically documented case involving an adopted orphan of a different species and breed was in 2006.
That’s when primatologist Patrícia Izar of the University of São Paulo observed a group of capuchins tending to a baby marmoset. “At the time, we were astonished,” she said.
Scientists are particularly intrigued by adoption in the animal kingdom because it was once considered a unique human behavior.