Dolphin's Dark Side Uncovered: The Shocking Truth
Dolphins are adored as some of the cutest wild creatures out there. They are surprisingly human-like, having a brain that makes them the most intelligent sea wildlife.
Dolphins share many human behaviors such as forming groups, mourning over the dead (some dolphins, maybe not all), and taking care of elders. They even have distinct names (except they whistle) for each other!
Dolphins have nice, smiley faces, and can perform beautiful tricks for us in captivity and in the wild.
Unfortunately dolphins may have some negative human traits as well. They have a shocking dark side.
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Warning: your previous perceptions will be greatly altered after watching this. Please proceed with caution.
Case Study 1: Bottlenose Dolphin Gangs
When mating season comes around there is generally fierce competition among males for access to females. The bottlenose dolphins have a different strategy: they form alliances.
A team of 5-6 male dolphins will rush to a female dolphin, and then proceed to herd her away to be mated with.
The female dolphin typically always resists. In fact they typically escape about 25% of the time. In the other 75% of the time they are beaten into submission.
The male dolphin alliances will capture a female dolphin, herd her away, beat her, and bite her and do whatever else is necessary in order to get her to mate with one of them.
This process repeats for all of the male dolphins. They essentially work together rather than apart to mate.
The actual act of forced sex has never been observed in dolphins, however it can be speculated based on the fact that pre-sex mating involves a lot of violence and coercion. There are also several marks left on female dolphins.
What once appeared to be such cute creatures can actually be violent and force other dolphins into doing something which they may not want to do!
Case Study 2: Infanticide
There are several wild animals that practice this behavior called “infanticide.” This is defined as the killing of young in their species in orderto increase the likelihood that they reproduce.
A dolphin may decide to kill a female dolphin’s young in so that the previous dolphin’s genes do not pass on, and then this dolphin can hopefully mate with this female dolphin.
This behavior has been observed in several wild animals, but the reason it is most shocking in dolphins is because of how compassionate & empathetic they can appear.
Case Study 3: Dolphin Wars
There are plenty of reports of dolphins having washed up on beaches after they passed away with mysterious injuries that were likely caused by other dolphins (and not humans hunting them, for example).
One study in the 1990s reported on a group of dolphin calves that washed up on a beach that had died of blunt-force trauma including multiple rib fractures, lung lacerations, and deep puncture wounds that were consistent with bites from an adult dolphin.
Case Study 4: Dolphins vs. Scuba Divers
Dolphin sexual aggression doesn’t stop just with dolphins- turns out we’re their targets as well!
Some scuba divers (and even workers at places where dolphins are held in captivity) report that dolphins make moves on them, sometimes even forcefully.
Both males AND females are observed in this behavior. In one case a man (Malcolm Brenner) was pursued intently by a particular female dolphin, and they had in his own words a “love affair” for a year… But that’s a story for another day.
Many other humans have been pursued by dolphins and sometimes aggressively. In the case of Michael Maes, an underwater videographer, he was pursued by a male dolphin that kept pushing him to the bottom of the Ocean floor.
He was equipped to handle the situation, though other scuba divers understandably would not be able to. Fighting back too aggressively could trigger the dolphin which leads to the scuba diver getting hurt.
Dolphins can weigh around 400 pounds which means that they can easily push you to the ocean floor or hurt you if they want to. Michael Maes ended up being okay, but the situation could be different for another scuba diver (especially if you were to run out of Oxygen for example).
One big thing about scuba diving is that even small differences in elevation within the Ocean can be quite painful. Forcefully traveling up or down a meter without preparation can cause massive pain (writing from personal experience here). Combined with the fear of being pursued by a very heavy dolphin, it’s easily understood how this can be dangerous.
Dolphins lead very complex social lives. In some ways this is interesting because they have been observed to be empathetic, care for their young/old, and they can even learn some sign language and a bit of English.
On the other hand they lack a human moral, which means they’re aggressive against both each other but even us humans!
Case Study 5: Murder
Not only do dolphins commit infanticide (the killing of other dolphin’s young), some of them murder just for the fun of it. This is not a regular occurrence, but it still happens.
Some groups of dolphins have been observed attacking and beating to death porpoises for no apparent reason. They did not let the porpoises escape- scientists still don’t understand why this was done.
A study was conducted in the area that this happened and it was discovered that there was no shortage of food. It seemed there were no logical reasons for this to be done.
It was also observed that the porpoises that were killed did not steal food, invade upon territory, etc. They were simply hunted and killed for no reason!
Dolphins have been observed to have incredible behavior. They can learn to communicate a bit with us, they can be compassionate sometimes, and they have fascinating social lives.
On the other hand they also have a dark side which isn’t well-known by the majority of people whom view dolphins as mystical, happy, and good creatures.
More studies have to be conducted in order to deeply grasp the true nature of dolphins- what we do know now though is that these creatures are far from the cute, cuddly creatures we imagined them to be!
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-Wildlife x Team International