The whales also pass songs

“This behavior indicates a level of ‘cultural transmission’ beyond any observed non-human species,” experts say.

The beings humans We are not the only ones who share music with our peers as part of our culture. According to a new study published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’, Humpback whales are also capable of learn incredibly complex songs then teach them whales from other regions. “This behavior indicates a level of cultural transmission beyond any non-human species observed”, affirms the scientific team that has led this work.

The research analyzed the song patterns of various populations of male humpback whales between the years 2009 and 2015. Like all good music criticism, the experts began to pay attention both to the tone variations like in the duration of the songs narrated by the different groups of cetaceans. “Listening to the Australian humpback populationwe were able to see if the songs changed in any way when sung by New Caledonian whales,” explains Dr Jenny Allen, a researcher at the University of Queensland and first author of this study.

Once it is established that each population of whales sings in a different stylescientists began to investigate what happened when different populations coincided during their migratory route. And that’s when the real surprise came. “We observed that every year the whales sang a different song“, summarize the researchers. This, according to the experts, suggests that humpback whales can learn a pattern very quickly song from another population, even if it is complex or difficult. “We discovered that these animals are capable of learning the exact sounds, without simplifying or omitting anything”, explain, surprised, the scientists in charge of this study.

“These animals are able to learn the exact sounds, without simplifying or omitting anything”

Music Exchange Areas

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As explained by the scientific team in charge of this analysis, everything indicates that the whales have their own meeting points to exchange music. “These animals are exchanging songs in shared migratory routes as New Zealandto or in common eating areas for different populations as is the case in Antarctica,” the research concludes. “It is rare that this degree of cultural exchange is documented on such a large scale in a non-human species,” Allen argues.

“It is rare that this degree of cultural exchange is documented on such a large scale in a non-human species”

Previous research also suggests that the fact that whales are able to learn new songs is one more example of a phenomenon known as ‘social learning’where the animals learn behaviors from each other by social interaction and not by genetic legacy. “The whales probably they learn songs theme by theme like the verse of a human song“explained a few years ago the researcher Michael Noadfrom the Laboratory of Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics of the University of Queensland, after the publication of another study in which it was pointed out that whales, in addition to singing, are capable of ‘remixing’ their rhythms.


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