All Things Wild

Altruism in Humpback Whales (with Bob Pitman)

April 11, 2022 Martin Episode 39
All Things Wild
Altruism in Humpback Whales (with Bob Pitman)
Show Notes

In 2009 Bob Pitman, his team and a BBC film crew were in Antarctica filming Killer Whales wave washing seals off of the ice as it had never been filmed before. What they witnessed next would blow them away! They captured evidence of Humpback whales actively protecting seals from Killer whales! Hear the story of this discovery and some interesting conversation about the new questions that this discovery made us ask. 

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Important Times:

  • 00:10 Intro
  • 01:20 Welcome Bob Pitman!
  • 02:05 Altruism in Humpback whales, what lead you to this point?
  • 08:15 Mobbing behaviour
  • 13:55 Natural instinct to react to predators
  • 17:00 Two main types of Killer whales in this area: fish eaters and mammal eaters
  • 19:15 Why isn’t this mobbing behaviour?
  • 21:28 Humpback calves don’t go to Antarctica 
  • 24:45 Do you think they know they are protecting a different species?
  • 26:22 Killer whales hunting in Western Australia
  • 28:10 Do you think the seal knew what was going on? Animals escaping predators by climbing onto your boat!
  • 31:00 Types of Killer whales in Antarctica: 5 types
  • 32:35 Where did this experience rank in your career?
  • 35:00 Dolphins helping people
  • 38:35 Altruism in humans
  • 40:05 Why haven’t Killer whales attacked humans?
  • 42:55 Killer whale intelligence
  • 44:00 Do they speak a language?
  • 44:40 Do they compare to human intelligence?
  • 45:20 Outro