Sperm whales adopt a deformed dolphin

"A bottlenose dolphin, with an S-shaped spinal deformity, is seen here rubbing against a sperm whale.Photograph courtesy Alexander Wilson and Aquatic Mammals" -Nat. Geographic
“A bottlenose dolphin, with an S-shaped spinal deformity, is seen here rubbing against a sperm whale.
Photograph courtesy Alexander Wilson and Aquatic Mammals” -National Geographic

This report from National Geographic is titled, “Deformed dolphin accepted into new family.”  Sperm whales and their calves rub bodies with this dolphin, who swims along beside them.  Linda Poon of National Geographic writes:

In 2011, behavioral ecologists Alexander Wilson and Jens Krause of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany were surprised to discover that a group of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)—animals not usually known for forging bonds with other species—had taken in an adult bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

"Sperm whales' heads are filled with a mysterious substance called spermaceti. Scientists have yet to understand its function, but believe it may help the animal regulate its buoyancy.Photograph by Brian J. Skerry" -National Geographic
“Sperm whales’ heads are filled with a mysterious substance called spermaceti. Scientists have yet to understand its function, but believe it may help the animal regulate its buoyancy.
Photograph by Brian J. Skerry” -National Geographic
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