Wild Australian Dolphins Giving Gifts To Humans Is A Real Thing That Happens

Wild Australian Dolphins Giving Gifts To Humans Is A Real Thing That Happens

According to a new scientific paper, dolphins at the Tangalooma Island Resort in Queensland have been observed giving gifts to humans 23 separate times since 1998. Yep. This is adorable.

The gifts offered up include “eels, tuna, squid, an octopus” and other types of fish. And once you get past just how unbelievably cute the image of a dolphin swimming up and giving you some of its food is, you get down to just how rare it is for one species to share food with another.

The dolphins in question are regular visitors to Tangalooma, where scientists engage in a daily provisioning program for the dolphins. So the scientists are well acquainted with these dolphins. But the gift giving has them all stumped.

Sharing food with other animals usually only happens under certain circumstances, like when one animal thinks another is terrible at hunting and won’t be able to catch its own food, or if the animal is hoping to get food back in return. That last one seems like it could make sense here, but scientists aren’t ready to come to any conclusions yet.

So for now, let’s just chalk this up as dolphins being brilliant miracle creatures who understand the true meaning of Christmas. [Anthrozoos via Discovery]

Image credit: David McNew / Getty Images News

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