20 Mar '12, 4pm

Dot Earth Blog: Humpback Whales Yield Some Sonic Secrets to Science

This has been a great time for humpback whale song studies, with two major papers out in the last 12 months. You might think that every year should be a big year for studying the song of the humpback whale, which is one of the longest, most complex, and most beautiful examples of animal communication that we humans have tried, and mostly failed, to decipher. One reason we can’t is that these whales live in a world completely different from ours, entirely under water. And when we listen to their songs, among other challenges it can be very difficult to detect where they are coming from, since sound seems to come from everywhere all at once when recorded in the sea. One thing we have known for some decades now is that humpback whales are constantly altering their songs, changing them from week to week, month to month, year to year. We don’t know why they do this. All we know...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/humpback-wha...

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