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In the South Pacific, a Humpback Whale Karaoke Lounge



Raoul Island, a volcanically active land mass that is half the size of Manhattan, is not an obvious place for an election party. But for the past decade or so, Dr. Constantine, the Department of Conservation Persons posted there noticed the bumps combined in September and October.

"Instead of just swimming in a straight line down to the dining areas, which are the fastest points from A to B, they will come out of their way" to spend time on the island, Dr. Constantine.

In 2015, she and some colleagues traveled there to find out what they were up to.

When the researchers dropped a hydrophone, or underwater microphone, into the water, they were "pretty surprised at how much we heard," Dr. Constantine said. The singing – which the researchers could also hear through the hulls of the boats – was not quite as loud or funny, as it usually is in the hedge spots, but at any given moment, there was almost always at least one choice that performed. as later genetic testing. They even recorded a humpback ball singing two different songs, perhaps in the process of learning one from another migrant whale.

Although the study sample size is small – only a few dozen whales were recorded – have the authors "clearly showed a place where the cultural transmission of the song can occur," says Melina Rekdahl, a marine research scientist for W the wildlife Conservation Society, which was not involved in the research.

She added that such transfer can also take place in other places, e.g. , and that questions remain, including why some groups from the South Pacific were not found on the island and why songs always seem to move from west to east.

But a puzzle piece seems to have been placed. "The big mystery for us was: Where is the place where they share the song?" Constantine. "And we found it!"


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