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We already know that whales and dolphins are pretty intelligent.

Photo from NOAA Photo Library/Flickr.


Bottlenose dolphins use sponges as protective face masks to probe the sea floor without damaging their snoots.

Orca whales have unique teamwork-reliant hunting strategies, like creating waves to wash seals off ice floes. And different orca whale populations seem to have their own distinct cultures too.

A new report suggests that those smarts might extend to emotions too.

In fact, scientists think that whales and dolphins might mourn and grieve just like humans do.

A recent paper in the Journal of Mammalogy documented this apparent mourning behavior in seven species of whale and dolphin, including spinner dolphins, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, orca whales, and sperm whales.

Spinner dolphins are named after their amazing, acrobatic spins. Photo from iStock.

Basically, scientists noticed that adult whales and dolphins tried to care for and nurture their dead young, a behavior that might represent a form of grieving.

"They are mourning," the paper's co-author Melissa Reggente told National Geographic. "They are in pain and stressed. They know something is wrong."

In one instance, in the Red Sea off Egypt, a small boat of biologists saw an adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin swimming, pushing at, and touching a recently deceased juvenile dolphin.

The biologists watched for a while before eventually fixing a rope around the juvenile and towing it ashore, where it was buried.

Even then, though, the adult dolphin followed them, swimming around and touching the juvenile until the water became too shallow for the dolphin to go on. But even after the juvenile had been buried, the adult stayed around the area.

We've seen what might be mourning behavior in other animals before.

An elephant at a zoo in Emmen, Netherlands, mourns the death of a friend. Olaf Kraak/AFP/Getty Images.

Elephants have been observed gently touching the bones of the dead. In his book "Elephant Destiny," elephant researcher Martin Meredith retold a story about an elephant family weeping and covering a recently dead matriarch with branches.

We've observed nurturing dead young in other animals too, like chimpanzees, but also in animals such as giraffes and manatees as well.

This new research is unfortunately pretty timely, considering that many species of whale and dolphin have a lot to grieve about lately.

Overzealous whaling in the 17th-20th centuries drove many whale species to the brink of extinction. Today, whaling is rare. But pollution, industrialization, and climate change still threaten these kinds of sea creatures.

Plus, eight of the 13 big whale species are currently endangered or critically endangered, including blue whales and fin whales. Many others are threatened or vulnerable.

Ascribing human emotions to animals is tricky, but we already know they're complex, emotional creatures.

Photo from iStock.

Though I'd wager that nearly all pet owners can name times when their animals were anxious or joyful or mourning, scientists are usually hesitant to pin human emotions on animals.

This is mostly because our own human emotions are so tied into our culture that it'd be a little presumptuous to think animal emotions would look or feel exactly like ours.

But it would probably be hard to find someone arguing that big, social animals like whales don't feel something.

This report adds weight to the idea that grief is a common and widespread behavior in long-lived, social species.

The same parts of our brains that process emotions are shared by a wide range of animals.

And if animals really do feel emotions, maybe we need to think more about how we're treating the other species on the planet too.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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