What do dolphins do for fun? They make underwater vortexes, of course.
Diver and dolphin lover Scott Gass was working at Sea World in Orlando, FL, when he noticed something interesting: One of the youngest dolphins, a female named Calypso, had discovered a new game. She had learned to create giant, malleable bubble rings (technically air-injected, torus-shaped vortexes) that she could push around, swim through, pop, and spin like a wheel.
This was an amazing feat, one that Scott and his colleagues call “walking on the moon rare” for dolphins, documented in only a handful of dolphin populations in the world. But for Gass, the most fascinating thing about the bubble rings was that Calypso wasn’t the only dolphin who started blowing bubble rings — adults from across the pod watched the youngster and joined in.
In a talk you just must watch, Gass gives us the story behind this wonderful dolphin-bubble-creation, with mesmerizing footage of Sea World’s dolphins playing with their homemade bubble vortexes. (It’s super cute. Trust us.) He even provides some deeper meaning, taking a cue from his dolphins to remind us that you’re never too old to learn from the young. Here’s Gass at TEDxOrlando:
(Photos — Top: Simon Griegg (xrr); Middle: Scott Gass; Bottom: Colorado_Al)