Many species interact in the wild, most often as predator and prey. But recent encounters between humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins reveal a playful side to interspecies interaction. In two different locations in Hawaii, scientists watched as dolphins "rode" the heads of whales: the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the dolphins slid back down. The two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress. Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species. The latest Bio Bulletin from the Museum's Science Bulletins program presents the first recorded examples of this type of behavior. Visitors to AMNH may view the video in the Hall of Biodiversity until February 9, 2012.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at
Two Unusual Interactions Between a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and a Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Hawaiian Waters
The Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, Inc.