Dolphins, Superheroes Of The Sea

By | November 3, 2019

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Two Bottlenose Dolphins Leaping from the Water. Source: (

Dolphins have a long history of rescuing humans from various marine hazards. In fact, the earliest stories of dolphin rescues were recorded in ancient Greece. In the seventh century B.C., the Greek poet Arion wrote about being thrown into the sea by pirates and carried back to shore by a dolphin. Plutarch told a similar tale of being rescued by a dolphin after his boat overturned in a storm. Whether these stories were fact or fiction is unknown, but there is no shortage of more recent examples of humans being rescued by dolphins.

In the eighteenth century, a group of Vietnamese sailors whose boat had been sunk by Chinese invaders was rescued by a pod of dolphins. Consequently, the Vietnamese began worshipping dolphins and whales, even erecting the “Temple of the Whale.” More recently, a team of researchers led by Maddalena Bearzi was studying bottlenose dolphins near the shore when one dolphin suddenly broke away and began swimming out to sea, followed by the other dolphins. Curious, the research team went after them. The dolphins swam three miles to where an eighteen-year-old girl was in the water, suffering from hypothermia. The dolphins swam in a circle around the girl until the research team arrived to rescue her.

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Common bottlenose dolphin. Source: (

In the year 2000, fourteen-year-old Filippo fell from his father’s boat in the Adriatic Sea. He might have drowned had a dolphin not swam up to him and pushed him back to the boat where his father was able to pull him aboard. In 2004, dolphins led a rescue boat to a group of divers who had been lost in the Red Sea for over thirteen hours. That same year, a scuba diving instructor in Thailand was led to safety by a dolphin after the tsunami. In 2006, dolphins led rescuers to an unconscious scuba diver in the sea near the Channel Islands. In 2008, they rescued a fisherman in the Philippines after his boat capsized in a storm.