In the human world, we poke fun at young adults who never move out of mom and dad's basement, but in the world of orcas, staying close to mom is the norm. In fact, the children stay with their family for their entire lives. The black and white cetaceans live in pods which can range in size from five to forty members. Like elephants, raising young is a group activity with the adolescent females helping to care for the babies.
Many think that species in the wild live by Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory, and many animals do, but showing just how strong an orcas family group is, recently a pod was discovered to be caring for a disabled youngster who was missing her dorsal fin and her right-side pectoral fin. This made her slower and unable to hunt.
Rainer Schimpf, an underwater photographer who found the pod, said about the young orca, "Incapable of fast hunting and ambushing prey it has to be dependent on the pod which, one assumes, looks after it very well. It shows these mammals are not really just ruthless killing machines but they also have complex, caring social-structures in which they and care for their own disabled members."