Whales share songs from other oceans

earthsky.org | 1/16/2019 | Eleanor Imster
Click For Photo: https://en.es-static.us/upl/2019/01/Humpback-whale-breaching-Jan-11-300x191.png

A breaching humpback whale in the waters of Gabon in Western Equatorial Africa. Image via ©Tim Collins/Wildlife Conservation Society.

New research suggests that humpback whales populations in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans are picking up musical ideas from one another, and incorporating the new phrases and themes into their songs.

Study - November - Journal - Royal - Society

According to the study, published November 28, 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal Royal Society Open Science, humpback whale populations in different Southern Hemisphere ocean basins (the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans) sing similar song types, but the amount of similarity differs across years. This suggests that males from these two populations come into contact at some point in the year to hear and learn songs from each other.

Humpback whales swimming off the coast of Madagascar, one of the study’s two research sites. Image via ©Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society.

Humpback - Whale - World - Marine - Species

The humpback whale is one of the world’s best-studied marine mammal species, known for its boisterous surface behavior and migrations stretching thousands of miles. The animal grows up to 50 feet (15 meters) in length and has been globally protected from commercial whaling since the 1960s. A statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society describes male humpback whales as some of the animal kingdom’s most noteworthy singers:

Individual animals sing complex compositions consisting of moans, cries, and other vocalizations called song units. Song units are composed into larger phrases, which are repeated to form themes. Different themes are produced in a sequence to form a song cycle that are then repeated for hours, or even days. For the most part, all males within the same population sing the same song type, and this population-wide song similarity is maintained despite continual evolution or change to the song leading to seasonal hit songs. Some song learning can occur between populations that are in close proximity and may be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: earthsky.org
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