This Story caught my attention a while back-- yes, I know I'm a little bit late, it was definitely months ago.
There's a lot of frontloading before you get to the part of the article that the title addresses, namely, a scientist having a snowball fight with a killer whale, and that claim is a little bit specious at best, but the facts are still interesting.
You see, the guy tossed a chunk of ice at our marine friend, and our marine friend made an attempt to toss it right back. Maybe the whale (not actually a whale, but I will continue to refer to it as such for simplicity) just thought he dropped something. Maybe the whale was just curious. Maybe the whale was annoyed that the guy threw something at it.
But the thing that's really fascinating to me, that ALWAYS captures my imagination in any context, was that it responded at all.
We take this for granted, I think. I mean, we have our dogs and our cats, and we communicate with them daily. "Get off the couch." "Go lay down." "Here, Kitty-Kitty." But these are animals that we've spent thousands of years domesticating. Thousands of years breeding into a creature which wants to interact with us. Think about that.
It took us thousands of years to domestic animals. To build a relationship that allows us to work together with them.
Now think about what happened with that scientist on an ice shelf, and that whale.
With an impulsive act, he engaged with an entirely different species. A species, it could be argued, that lives within an entirely different world.
Maybe all of this just means that I'm a little bit Romantic in my scientific notions. But man, every time we take a step toward understanding another species a little bit better, every time we find a way to communicate a little bit more effectively with another species, I dream big dreams.