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Critically Endangered Bowhead Whales Sing Like Birds

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posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 08:23 PM

"We hoped to record a few little grunts and moans," Stafford said. "We were not expecting to get five months of straight singing."

Not only did they record singing nearly every hour of the day and night, they picked up more than 60 unique songs. A paper detailing their discoveries appears July 31 as the feature article in Endangered Species Research and is openly accessible online.

The variety of tunes was so surprising that the researchers compared the whales' song catalog to that of birds.

"Whether individual singers display one, multiple or even all call types, the size of the song repertoire for… bowheads in 2008-2009 is remarkable and more closely approaches that of songbirds than other… whales," they wrote in the report.

They have yet to learn why the whales sang so consistently last year.

I'm curious to know this as well. Is it a normal thing or are these whales singing so often for a reason other than mating? Perhaps they are losing habitat due to ice melting?

Bowhead whales are massive creatures. They grow to over 60 feet long, may live to 200 years old and can weigh 200,000 pounds. They use their huge skulls to break through ice as thick as 1.5 feet.

Bowhead whale song is unique in that the whales appear to sing with "two voices," simultaneously producing high- and low-frequency sounds. The whales sometimes repeat the same tune for hours at a time.


They sound like amazing animals. Possibly the source of seamonster sightings? The article mentions that they do not know where they spend their winter. Could these be lurking inland in the winter?

Classification: The Bowhead Whale, Balaena mysticetus, was classified by Linnaeus in 1758, meaning 'moustached sea monster'.


Nice classification.

edit on 2-8-2012 by AnarchysAngel because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 08:38 PM
so very incredible. to think someday we just might break their language code.
could you imagine hearing the tunes of animals that walked this earth in the Jurassic era,mor earlier?

thanks for sharing.

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