Friday, March 1

They record a new “word” of the humpback whale, which had never been heard


Humpback whales communicate through songs and sounds. Scientists have discovered a new one, which until now had never been heard of.

As we further study Humpback whales, we know more about their intelligence and social abilities. And that makes us feel more guilty, because we were about to exterminate themA few decades ago.

The humpback whale is known for its songs: a kind of long songs that mix different sounds, and last between 10 and 20 minutes. Different populations emit different songs, and they change over the years.

Whale songs are only emitted by males, and it is still not very well known what they are for, it is not only to attract females, because they also use them at times when they are not in heat. The females emit sounds of different types, which they use to communicate. and have discovered a new one, never heard before. You can hear it in this video:

The study, carried out by Greenpeace, together with the universities of Stellenbosch and Exeter, has documented up to 600 acoustic calls of the whales during 11 days on the Vema seamount in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 km off the coast of South Africa.

We still don’t fully understand what this ‘shot call’ means and it’s fantastic to record it in humpback whales for the first time. It really shows how much we still have to learn about these amazing animals.explains Dr. Kirsten Thompson, who is responsible for the research as part of the University of Exeter and the Greenpeace International Research Laboratory.

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The offshore investigation used ballast hydrophones to sample the sounds of humpback whales in the area. The majority of whale songs were detected on three consecutive nights, with low-pitched “whups” being the most common sound.

It’s known that the “whup”, a kind of guttural sound, is used between mother-calf pairs as a contact call It helps them locate each other. Humpback whales also exchange “whups” while feeding, confirming that Vema is an important feeding area.

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Humpback whales nearly went extinct last centurywhen massive hunting reduced its population to only 10%. 200,000 specimens were exterminated.

In 1966, a joint action of all the countries of the world prohibited its hunting, although countries like the Soviet Union (now Russia) continued to hunt it for a few more years.

Now its population is recovering, but it is still far from what it was before the hunt. It is estimated that there are about 60,000 copies left.

Although they are not killed, their future is threatened by pollution of the seas, climate change, overfishing and habitat destruction.

GreenPeace is collecting signatures with which to put pressure on governments to establish marine protection laws. Currently only 3% of the seas are fully protected.

If you want to add your signature, you can do it on this website. In Spain alone they have already collected almost 5 million signatures.

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