Humankind might hold dominion over planet Earth, but we are by no means the only intelligent and compassionate form of life. As science continues to develop, we are slowly realizing just how incredible our animal counterparts are.

Now, incredible footage has emerged of a 50,000-pound humpback whale protecting a diver from a shark.

It’s no secret that humpback whales are intelligent. They’re famous for their songs and aerial acrobatic abilities which allow them to breach the surface of the water. But they’re also famed for their compassion, saving many others animals like seals from untimely deaths.

But this is the first time that footage has been captured of them in the act of saving a life, never mind doing it to a human.

Humpback whales’ desire to save other animals is said to be an extension of their instinct to protect their own calves.

Whale biologist Nan Hauser, pictured above, was studying humpback whales off the coast of Muri Beach, Rarotonga, of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific when the incident took place in October 2017. She said that it was proof of the animal’s intuitive protective nature.

In the footage, the whale can, at one point, be seen lifting 63-year-old Nan out of the water. The whale realized that danger was close by while she was studying its form. It made sure that Nan was kept safe beneath its giant pectoral flipper until a 15-foot tiger shark had passed by.

“There is a published scientific paper about humpbacks protecting other species of animals, by Robert Pitman,” Nan revealed. “For instance, they hide seals under their pectoral fins to protect them from killer whales.”

“They truly display altruism – sometimes at the risk of losing their own lives.”