The scientists believe that the humpbacks heard the cries of the hunting orcas without knowing what animal was in danger, and they came to the rescue anyway. While it would make sense for humpback whales to protect their own kind from getting killed, "there was no apparent benefit to humpbacks continuing to interfere when other species were being attacked," the study said. "Interspecific altruism, even if unintentional, could not be ruled out."
As for the gray whale calf caught on camera that the humpbacks tried to protect - sadly, he perished in the hunt.
But the wild orca pod was able to stave off hunger for a little while longer.
And the humpback whales who had tried to save the baby's life remained at the site of the killing for six hours, even after the dead calf's mother left.