Whale Saves Diver From Shark, Or Did it?

whale saves diverImage source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Have you heard about the diver that was apparently got a helping hand, or fin rather, from a humpback whale? While out diving in the South Pacific to study whales, Dr. Nan Hauser had an encounter with a whale who she thinks was trying to save her from a tiger shark. When someone says whale saves diver not many people will believe it.

An Act of Altruism?

Humpback whales have been seen to save other species from predators from time to time but we don’t really understand their reasons. The same goes true when someone claims a whale saves diver from one. The nearly three-minute video, of Hauser’s ten-minute encounter with the humpback, doesn’t shed a lot of light on the situation.

During the video we see the humpback being fairly friendly with Hauser, even pushing her up to the surface and tucking her under a fin. But there’s no indication that the whale was trying to save her. In the video no glimpse is caught of the tiger shark that Hauser found in the area when back on the boat.

So does the story of whale saves diver from shark hold water? It’s hard to say really. Hauser, who has studied whales for twenty-eight years, first thought the whale was going to kill her. But then once she was back on the boat she changed her story to thinking it was saving her.

Safety in Numbers?

There is another whale in the background of the video along with another diver. Perhaps the humpback was thinking that there was safety in numbers more so than that it was saving a diver from a shark. With two whales perhaps the tiger shark might have taken a swipe or two for a quick meal. But with four animals in the area all together, the tiger shark might not have liked being outnumbered, or so the whale may have thought. Humpbacks do gather together to keep their calves safe at times, so that might also have been what was going on.

Scientific Community Differs on Opinions

Another scientist believes that the humpback may have been a female that lost a calf recently and was simply acting based on hormones that made her protective of other creatures. Yet a third scientist that studies humpbacks said that he saw no evidence of altruism in the video.

Whales are known to have friendly contact with humans and ships in the water from time to time. This could have simply been a case where the whale was just being friendly, and the tiger shark happened to show up after the fact. Without and real way of communicating with the whale at a meaningful level, it may simply be a mystery without an answer for the near future.

For her part, Hauser even stated that, had someone told her the same story, she wouldn’t believe it either. So, if you’re a scientist or not, it’s alright to be skeptical the next time you read Whale Saves Diver from Shark.

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About the Author

Christophor Rick
Christophor is a Milwaukee, WI native who has long been interested in science which culminated in an internship at the NASA Astrobiology Academy and a degree in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology. His creative writing spans general fiction, science-fiction, fantasy and other speculative fiction. He has been a freelance writer for over a decade and has over 3,000 articles published online and in magazines. He has been a video game journalist, an online video industry analyst, freelance social media manager, content strategist, associate editor, and editor-in-chief at several online publications.

8 Comments on "Whale Saves Diver From Shark, Or Did it?"

  1. Duncan Cairncross | Feb 22, 2018, 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm |

    Unless the “Tiger Shark” was right at the top of their size range it would simply NOT have been interested in a Human as food
    Almost all fish are predators and they eat prey that is a good bit smaller than they are – a six foot shark attacking a 4 foot fish may be injured and will not be able to eat all of it anyway
    A six or seven foot human (including fins) is “prey” to a sixteen or seventeen foot long shark

    Shark attacks are normally either
    Bad visibility – where the shark thinks your fin or hand is a “food sized” fish – surfers get this
    Struggling on the surface – where the shark thinks you are basically dying
    Spear fishing – where the shark attacks the dastardly interloper that is eating it’s lunch

    You can tell by looking at the wounds – a “bite” is where it is eating – a “slash” wound is where it is fighting off a rival

  2. frances blanton | Jan 12, 2018, 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm |

    after listening to this on NPR, I surfed around and read lists of whale/human interactions, and am left wondering if perhaps this especial whale may have been one ostensibly ‘saved’ from a net? altruism? good memory? just wondering….

  3. Retards can’t help but bring up politics on every comment section.

  4. How is this relevant?

  5. did anybody actually believe that story to begin with?

  6. Tell the Stupid Donald that Africa Is a Continent not a Country. Egad how can he be so stupid

  7. I read the original story and have seen the video. It was, and still is fake news in the highest degree.

  8. Being cautious of anthropomorphism should not preclude the real possibility that whales (and dolphin) may indeed be protecting humans from sharks. I deeply appreciate the criteria of scientific methodology but let’s not discount the value of intuition, interpretation, and circumstantial evidence. Although perhaps less conclusive, wonders abound in these areas of observation as well.

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