It’s long been known that humpbacks in the same ocean basin usually sing slight variations of the same song.
But researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Columbia University and Australia now believe that limited contact between whales swimming in the south of the Indian Ocean and humpbacks elsewhere in the basin is probably one reason their songs are quite different.
The southern whales’ contact with other humpbacks from the Pacific and Atlantic could also be a factor in their unique vocalization, according to the researchers.
Humpback songs are complex arrangements of parts or “themes,” consisting of ascending and descending wails, moans and shrieks that are repeated in cycles lasting up to 30 minutes.
Photo: Natalie Lucier - Flickr