Intelligent, friendly, and graceful— dolphins have mesmerized humankind for centuries.
It’s well accepted that our ancestors were familiar with the animal, creating markings and art depicting their famous form. Take this painting, for instance, found in the Residential Quarters of the Knossos Palace in Greece. It’s called the Minoan Dolphins Fresco and dates all the way back to 1500 B.C.
The Minoans were a seafaring people from the Mediterranean. They didn’t leave many written records, but anthropologists say the vast depictions of dolphins in their palaces and murals show how important the animals were in Minoan society.
Nowadays, the fascination with dolphins hasn’t seemed to worn off. People flock to events and shell out cash to take kissy photos with them and to ride upon their backs. And scientists work tirelessly on research projects, hoping to unravel the intricacies of the dolphin brain.
But most of us? Most of us love dolphins for their beauty— and this dolphin video is the most beautiful I’ve seen yet.
The video’s origins are unclear, but it was uploaded to YouTube in 2012 by YouTuber arie albers. In the footage, you see the miraculous moment a dolphin mama gives birth. The footage looks like it was captured by two scuba divers in the wild.
In the beginning, you see the dolphin swimming around slowly. But if you take a closer look, you see a tiny, second tail emerging from her lower body.
A scuba diver seems to want to assist her, but there isn’t much they can do.
The creature swims gracefully in a figure-eight pattern, arching its back as it births a brand-new life.
As she continues the process, more of the baby’s tail comes out.
Finally, with one last push, an energetic and adorable calf emerges.
They swim away by each other’s side.
It’s hard to explain the feeling you get while watching this. It’s such a natural and beautiful process, it’s hard not feel overwhelmed—especially when you consider the similarities between us.
As mammals, humans and dolphins reproduce in similar ways. Dolphins carry one baby at a time (and sometimes twins!) until they give birth to a live calf that can swim shortly after. As demonstrated in the video, baby dolphins are usually born tail-first, but head-first deliveries have also been recorded. While the mother is in labor, the dolphin’s umbilical cord snaps.
Sometimes, dolphins have a “midwife” to help them during this process. This helper is called an “auntie”, but they can be a male or a female. Mother dolphins are extremely protective of their young, and the helper is usually the only one they will allow near their newborn calf.
As you can imagine, dolphin calves are relatively big at birth, weighing anywhere between 22 and 42 pounds. Like humans whose bones harden, the calf’s dorsal fin and tail flukes are pliable but will stiffen as the baby grows. And, like most new mothers, the mamma dolphin featured in this video can look forward to some sleepless nights. Dolphin babies nurse up to 18 months, feeding in 15-minute cycles during the first 4 to 7 days.
Since being uploaded to YouTube, this incredible video has been viewed 15 million times.
“This is so cute. I love how the baby stuck to his mother’s side and how they both stuck together.”
“Awww, I love dolphins. It’s like my favorite animal, and this is the sweetest! It’s just sooo beautiful!!”
“I love this vid. So touching almost cried.”
Watch the breathtaking moment below.
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