Watch: Humpback Whale Stops Deadly Shark Attack by Pushing Woman to Safety in Incredible Video

The true intentions of the whale are not clear. RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images

We may need to rethink which animal carries the title of "man's best friend." A humpback whale pushed a diver away from an oncoming tiger shark in an apparent attempt to protect her from a potential threat. The diver, a marine biologist, has never seen this whale species exhibit such behavior before. Lucky for us, it was all caught on camera.

The amazing encounter seen in the video below occurred off the coast of Rarotonga, one of the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, The Independent reported. In the video, biologist Nan Hauser is swimming with a 25-ton humpback whale. Suddenly, the mammoth ocean mammal pushes Hauser away with its fin.

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The biologist did not immediately realize why the whale acted this way. Only later did she realize that a 15-foot tiger shark was swimming nearby at the moment that the whale steered her away. Hauser believes the whale's action was deliberate to protect her from the apparent danger. "I love you, too," Hauser told the whale after returning to her boat at the end of the video.

"I wasn't sure what the whale was up to when he approached me, and it didn't stop pushing me around for over 10 minutes. It seemed like hours. I was a bit bruised up," said Hauser, The Independent reported.

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In her 28 years of studying whales underwater, Hauser told The Independent, she has never seen one act like this, describing the giant as "putting me on his head, or belly, or back, or, most of all, trying to tuck me under his huge pectoral fin."

Humpback whales are best known for their underwater songs, which they use to communicate with one another, National Geographic reported. These songs are complex moans and cries that can last for several hours. Although the exact meaning of the songs is not clear, scientists believe that they are most likely some type of mating call.

This species of whale is also recognized for their breaching, a behavior in which they thrust themselves outside of the water in a type of leap or jump. Again, scientists are not clear why the whales regularly jump from the water, but they believe it may be a way for the animals to clean themselves, or it may be a form of entertainment, National Geographic reports. Once endangered, humpback whale numbers are now steadily increasing and most of these animals no longer need endangered species protections, NPR reported.

It is not possible to know exactly what the whale intended with its behavior, but the experience will forever be special to Hauser. "I've spent the past 28 years protecting whales, and in the moment, I didn't even realize that they were protecting me," she said, according to The Independent.