A study finds that male humpback whales can learn incredibly complex songs from their mates in other regions
This indicates that the learning of these sounds among these cetaceans is similar to that of humans.
The authors emphasize how having a deeper understanding of this species helps to improve its conservation.
Among animal species, the songs of the male humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) are a rare example of social learning, A new study published in a scientific report found that these cheetahs can learn incredibly complex songs from their peers in other areas.
to evaluate cultural operation Between them, the authors have analyzed the singing patterns of male specimens in populations from eastern Australia and New Caledonia between 2009 and 2015. The team observed that the New Caledonian specimen was able to learn the tune from its Australian counterparts. remarkable accuracy,
“This indicates a higher level of communication than has ever been seen in any non-human species,” revealed the study’s first author, Jenny Allen. “Apart from humans, this is really the only example we have of cultural transmission happening over thousands of miles.”
“These findings support the idea that song learning among whales is similar to” other species like birds and humans”, Allen tells SYNC. “Learning song probably develops in very similar ways regardless of species, which is important to our understanding of how communication has evolved in different organisms, “They say.
According to the researcher, Complexity The number of songs was determined by measuring both the number of sounds the whales made and the duration of each type of sound.
“Listening to two populations of humpbacks, we found that the New Caledonian specimens learned precise sounds without anything simple or omitted,” says Allen. “Plus, each year they sing a different song, which means these cheetahs can remember Very early A complete song pattern, whether complex or difficult, from another population”, he adds.
The research is led by the University of Queensland (UQ) and is the result of collaboration with other Australian, New Caledonian and English universities and a non-governmental organization. Operation Sitasian,
Importance of protecting this species
These findings support the hypothesis that learning to sing can occur in shared feeding areas, such as Antarctica, or on common migration routes. “We have evidence that these two populations are coming in closer contact than ever before,” the researcher tells SINC.
“As we better understand where and how often they mix, we can learn whether ocean area They are the ones that need protection the most”, and continues: “For example, research supports the idea that these populations can be found in New Zealand on their migratory routes; it means those areas are really important and it is necessary to defend them,
Although recently the humpback whale has been removed from the species list. the danger of extinction of their populations still need to be carefully managed, and these findings may help, Allen suggests.
“We now have a more holistic picture of the behavior, movements and interactions of different populations of humpback whales, including how they pass on their culture. This means we are better equipped to protect them from many threats They face our climate and our planet keeps changing,” he concluded.