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Rare Dolphin Spotted Smiling While Swimming Backstroke

Emma Schmidt was out patrolling waters off the coast of Australia as usual earlier this month, when she was graced by one of the rarest sights of the natural world.

Amid a pod of humpback dolphins, an incredibly rare snubfin dolphin popped out of the water ... and smiled.

Schmidt, a ranger at Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, has only spotted the rare snubfin dolphin twice in the past dozen years. "They are very rare, so this photo was just pure luck," Schmidt told the Townsville Bulletin.

She's right about that: Because of diminishing habitats and dangers posed by fishing, the snubfin dolphin is incredibly rare. Snubfins are known for being very social, but shy of people, so this sight was truly a treasured event.

The plight of the snubfin dolphin didn't seem to faze this individual snubfin. "It was playing and mucking around jumping out of the water and in the photo it looks like it's smiling," Schmidt said.

Learn more about snubfin dolphins here.