Photo of the Day: Spinner Dolphin Jumps for Joy

A spinner dolphin jumping out of the water

Jaymi Heimbuch

Spinner dolphins are known for their acrobatics, leaping from the water and spinning as many as seven rotations before landing back in the water. But the question that still has scientists stumped is exactly why. There are several possibilities; one is to remove unwanted remoras and parasites. Another is that a spin adds emphasis to whatever emotion the dolphins are feeling, from frustration to dominance to joy. But one more explanation is a favorite: because it's fun! Watching spinner dolphins take leap after leap, it seems that jumping for joy is a plausible guess. Dolphins love to play, and if you have the physical ability to do something as silly and fun as leaping and spinning from the water, then wouldn't you do it too? Check out more Photo of the Day posts here.