Researches recently used drones and underwater cameras to observe the southern resident orca J pod off the British Columbia coast, seeing far more than they ever could from a boat, reports The Seattle Times. What they discovered is that the orcas were more playful and affectionate than previously thought.
The orcas would regularly rub against each other, with a baby amusingly nuzzling its mother by slapping its tail on the mother’s head in a similar bonding manner that people do (without the tail part, of course).
“The same way we hug our kids and hug our friends, touch furthers those bonds. That’s the power of touch, and here we have killer whales reminding us of that — who would have thought?” said professor at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Department of Zoology Andrew Trites told The Seattle Times.