New group of blue whales discovered with a new song

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Each group of blue whales in a specific region has their own unique style of vocalisation. A new song has been heard in the “northernmost reaches of the Arabian Sea, as far south as the Chagos Islands and in the Mozambique Channel west of Madagascar.”

Blue whale

Blue whale. Image: public domain.

This particular song has been added to the known dozen or so blue-whale songs. The new song indicates a new and different group of blue whales. It is surprising that this group has escaped detection in the past. They don’t know how many individual whales are part of the group. The sound that these individual whales make are very low-pitched and they can travel underwater for 600 miles.

The scientists realised that when they had recorded the sounds of this new song that they had never heard it before and therefore concluded that they had discovered a new group.

Blue whale songs are well researched and the blue whale has been studied for decades. The researchers were extremely surprised to have discovered a group which produced an entirely new song.

The research indicates that there is still more to know about blue whale behaviour and sounds. They recorded these sounds of blue whales off Oman. Acoustic data from that area had not previously been acquired and “so the identity of that population of blue whales was initially just a guess,” said Andrew Willson, a member of the research team. He admitted that there is more to learn about the world’s largest creatures ever to have lived.

They have heart the size of Volkswagen beetles and stomachs that can hold at least a tonne of krill.


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