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There are many stories of drowning humans being rescued by Dolphins. Are these just tales or does this actually occur?

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    Here is a case. – Oliver_C Aug 11 '12 at 14:17
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    have no idea if they rescue humans when drowning but i know that there are documented cases of them raping people! (as a side-note) – Xitcod13 Aug 12 '12 at 1:03
  • What sort of answer will you find acceptable if you are not willing to accept news stories? – going Aug 27 '12 at 10:14
  • @xiaohouzi79: It's just a boy. Are there documented examples with more reliable witnesses? – Casebash Aug 27 '12 at 12:18
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    @Xitcod13 please provide that documentation in the form of an answer to This Question – Chad Aug 29 '12 at 19:02
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+100

I found this in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education

The use of dolphins in rescuing humans has been instinctive, rather than the result of formal training. Dolphins have rescued drowning victims or abandoned survivors by allowing them to ride on their back (Betancourt, 1998; Catton, 1990) or by psychologically encouraging them with their presence to continue their efforts to reach the shore (Waga News, 2001).

The paper cites many evidence of dolphins helping drowning human (which can be found in the references a the end of the paper). However, the study also claims that animals can either do it by training or by instinct (depending on the breeds).

Therefore it seems that animals can rescue humans either by instinct or by being trained for rescue.

Other papers can be found supporting the evidence of dolphins having helped drowning humans through history:

Drowning in Ancient Greek history and mythology

Drowning incident rescuer characteristics: Encoding the first component of the 4W model

And books:

Inside the Mind of a Clever Dolphin

Swimming with Dolphins

An important side note should be expressed. Evidence of dolphins helping drowning humans does not mean that dolphins would save a human in case of drowning. There are also some evidences of them attacking human or letting them drown.

  • There are also a large number of reports from news network around the world that can be found on Google. – Zonata Sep 2 '12 at 19:35
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Here is a link to a book about Dolphins The dolphin in history papers delivered by Ashley Montagu and John C. Lilly at a symposium at the Clark Library, 13 October 1962. Published 1963 by William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California in Los Angeles .

A portion of the text read,

Is there any evidence that dolphins save drowning swimmers ? There is.

In 1945 the wife of a well-known trial attorney residing in Florida was saved from drowning by a dolphin.' This woman had stepped into a sea with a strong undertow and was immedi- ately dragged under.

The same book is available here as well.

Hope this helps.

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