The Grist List position on dolphins has long been that they are adorable, playful, sweet-looking oversexed death machines. Whether they’re killing porpoises because they haven’t gotten laid in a while, or being trained for covert ops by the Ukrainian navy, or biting the shit out of a child, you should not be fooled by their happy faces — and if you see this coming for you, RUN.
But lately we keep seeing stories about kind, selfless dolphins helping each other or other animals, and we are confused and scared. What happened to the “I will fucking cut you” dolphin of yore? Everyone knows dolphins will see the writing on the wall and abandon the planet before it gets destroyed (N.B. I am a humongous nerd) — is that what all this good-deed shit is about, like they’re on their way out and they can’t muster the energy to be dicks anymore? Is this some kind of dolphin senioritis? Whatever it is, it’s spooky.
For starters, here are some dolphins — a species which, need I reiterate, likes to curb-stomp porpoises — helping a confused and tired seal:
And don’t even get me started on this three-hanky story about dolphins carrying an injured member of their pod until she died. The injured dolphin seemed to have paralyzed pectoral flippers, and her pod-mates helped her swim, eventually forming a raft with their bodies so that she could ride on their backs and keep from drowning. Then they held her until she died. BLUH.
As if that’s not enough, a young dolphin in Australia just saved 150 of its friends and family, bravely getting the attention of environmental officials and leading them to the stranded pod. Tell me that’s not a hit movie starring the dolphin equivalent of Selena Gomez.
I mean, I suppose it’s possible we’ve been too quick to trash dolphins, based on a little attempted rape and a little killing for fun. Maybe it was all a huge misunderstanding, and they were as sweet and gentle as they looked all along! Or maybe they learned it from watching us! But seriously though, dolphins are naturally kind of sociopathic and something is going on here. We should probably get off Earth while the getting’s good.
Dolphins Help Young Seal, Buzzfeed.
Leave No Dolphin Behind: Dolphin Pod Carries Injured Member Until She Stops Breathing, Smithsonian.
Australia dolphins 'saved' by juvenile's distress call, BBC.