A Heart-Wrenching Video Of Dolphin Compassion

Nearly every day, during The Dodo's so-far brief lifespan, we've discovered a study or video that captures animal intelligence in a new or vivid way. Many have involved dolphins -- like yesterday, when a video from Australia captured a few carefully nibbling the bait off hooks, buying time for sharks targeted under that country's thoroughly unscientific shark cull. It's a similar disregard for science -- for fact -- that sets off Virginia Morell, a writer for Science (and Dodo member), in her great piece for National Geographic. She recounts the extensive research into dolphins' intelligence and capacity for compassion -- and contrasts it with our inability to show intelligence or compassion to sufficiently protect them. I was particularly gripped by a video she cited (below) that captures an event I'd only read about: A group of long-beaked common dolphin joining to prop up an older, ailing dolphin who can't swim. Warning: This is no feel-good viral video. It's wrenching, and terribly moving. I'm (clearly) not someone who doubts dolphin intelligence, but I still feel that it changed me in a profound way. And it leaves me wondering who could watch it and not recognize the dolphins' intelligence and compassion -- and then not be intelligent or compassionate enough to want to protect them, too.

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