Your best friend is hit by a car on a busy freeway, right in front of you. Would you risk your own life to pull him or her to safety? That’s exactly what one intrepid dog, did last year when he came to a friend’s rescue by risking his own life to run into oncoming highway traffic.
What if you saw a mother and her baby drowning at the beach? Would you rush to their rescue? A dolphin named Moko did when she guided two beached whales into deeper waters off the coast of New Zealand.
Researchers at the University of Paris recently discovered that selflessness among animals like that heroic dog and Moko the dolphin—who put their own lives in danger in order to save others—is even more prevalent than we once thought. The examples of animal altruism are many and moving: Dolphins endanger themselves to rescue their trapped friends, ants help fellow colony members when they’re caught in traps or under attack from a predator (though we’ve known that insects were geniuses for a while now), female fruit bats help each other during labor to ease birth pains—and that’s only a quick sampling.
Their selfless acts don’t end with their own species either: Dogs will risk their lives to save their guardians, gorillas will care for human children, and one hears story after story about dolphins who come to the aid of swimmers and surfers. If animals can put aside the differences they have with us to help ensure our survival, isn’t it about time we did the same?
Written by Logan Scherer