Male humpback whales have their own version of popular songs, and their hits spread through the ocean to other whales, according to an Australian study released Friday.
Several whales grunt and scream and all open their huge mouths to enjoy their feast. On average, one humpback eats around 5,000 pounds of plankton, krill and fish a day. The wildlife photographer Duncan Murrell, also named "Whaleman", takes those amazing pictures. To capture images of humpback whales feeding and surging through the surf off Alaska, he often ventures within the giant, fearsome creatures. [chinanews.com.cn]
While making the study reported in the journal Current Biology, researchers in Australia listened to hundreds of hours of recordings gathered over more than a decade.
These revealed how a specific song pattern, which originated in Eastern Australia, had passed to whale populations up to 6,000 kilometers away in French Polynesia.
In typical pop music fashion, the tunes are not all that original most of the time, said researcher Ellen Garland, a graduate student at The University of Queensland.
"It would be like splicing an old Beatles song with U2," Garland said. "Occasionally they completely throw the current song out the window and start singing a brand new song."
What remains a mystery is why the whales all sing the same song, when presumably their efforts are meant to make them stand out against the pack.
"We think this male quest for song novelty is in the hope of being that little bit different and perhaps more attractive to the opposite sex," said Garland.