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whales learn a new song

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  • maui444
    Even singing whales are not immune to picking up a catchy tune. Humpback whales living in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef have astonished scientists by
    Message 1 of 61 , Dec 1, 2000
      Even singing whales are not immune to picking up
      a catchy tune. Humpback whales living in the waters
      of the Great Barrier Reef have astonished scientists
      by learning a new melody sung by visitors from a
      distant ocean. In less than two years, the giants of the
      deep swapped their own distinctive serenade for that
      of their wandering Indian Ocean cousins. Australian
      marine biologists believe the males copied the songs of
      the migrants to stop potential female suitors from
      losing interest. And they think it is an unprecedented
      example of a "cultural revolution" in whale songs.
      <br>Male humpback whales sing on their way to and from
      their mating grounds in the waters of the Great Barrier
      Reef off the east coast of Australia. Normally, whales
      in different ocean basins sing unrelated songs. Like
      birds, their melodies can change over time, but usually
      this is a slow, gradual process. So Dr Michael Noad of
      the University of Sydney, New South Wales, and
      colleagues, were surprised to find that the whales they were
      studying had suddenly picked up a new tune. Dr Noad told
      the BBC: "All of a sudden, a few dozen whales have
      come across from the west coast population and mixed
      in with the east coast population. "In 1996, when we
      were recording the whales we picked up a small number
      of whales<br>that were singing this completely
      different song. Literally, within a period of a few months,
      the east coast singers have all changed their song
      and adopted the west coast song." The marine
      biologists found that at first only two of 82 east coast
      whales were singing the new tune. But over a period of
      less than two years, all the males had switched songs.
      The finding is intriguing because it suggests that
      whales may be attracted to the<br>cultural novelty of a
      song and then adopt it themselves. Reporting their
      findings in the scientific journal Nature, the team said:
      "Such a<br>revolutionary change is unprecedented in
      animal cultural vocal traditions and suggests that
      novelty may stimulate change in humpback whale songs."
    • maui444
      How close to shore? Within a 100 yards in many cases, if the water is deep enough..... How many? The traditional belief is that there s around
      Message 61 of 61 , Feb 25, 2002
        How close to shore?<br>Within a 100 yards in many
        cases, if the water is deep enough.....<br><br>How
        many?<br>The traditional belief is that there's around 1500
        Humpback Whales that congregate each year near Hawaii
        during their wintering from Alaska. We try to do a
        census but you know that's not gonna be too acurate
        because you can't count things hiding away in the ocean
        depths too easily. Probably safe to say somewhere
        between 1500-3000 Humpback whales visiting Hawaii now.
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