Advertisement

Capturing the Songs of Humpback Whales

  • Denise Russell

Abstract

25°0’S, 153°0’E, Hervey Bay, Australia, a long way out to sea, a distant soft moan triggers an unexpected response. Several humans fall to their knees and place their ears on the empty hull shells of the aluminium boat. We smile, cry and call out in wonder. We hear a whale singing.

Keywords

Great Barrier Reef Killer Whale Bottlenose Dolphin Sperm Whale Oral Tradition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works cited

  1. Anttonen, P. ‘The Perspective from Folklore Studies’. Oral Tradition 18.1 (2003): 116–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Au, W. W. L., A. A. Pack, M. O. Lammers, L. M. Herman, M. H. Deakos, and K. Andrews. ‘Acoustic Properties of Humpback Whale Songs’. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 120.2 (2006): 1103–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bastion, J. ‘The Transmission of Arbitrary Environmental Information Between Bottlenosed Dolphins’. R. G. Busnel, ed. Animal Sonar Systems, vol. 2. Jouy-en-Josas, France: Laboratoire de Physiologie Acoustique, 1967.Google Scholar
  4. Boyd, R., and P. J. Richerson. ‘Why Culture Is Common, but Cultural Evolution Is Rare’. Proceedings of the British Academy 88 (1996): 77–93.Google Scholar
  5. Burnett, D. G. The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  6. Cerchio, S., J. Jacobsen, and T. Norris. ‘Temporal and Geographical Variation in Songs of Humpback Whales. Megaptera novaeangliae: Synchronous Change in Hawaiian and Mexican Breeding Assemblages’. Animal Behaviour 62 (2001): 311–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Challis, S. ‘Do Bonobos Have a Language? Can Apes Be Taught Human Language?’ 2010. 12 December 2012. http://stevechallis.net/Bonobos.php
  8. Coghlan, A. Whales Boast the Brain Cells That ‘Make Us Human’. 2006. 12 December 2012. www.newscientist.com/article.dn10661-whales-boast-the-brain-cells-that-make-us-human.html.
  9. ‘Daring Rescue of Whale off Farallones’. 2005. 29 January 2013. www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Daring-rescue-of-whale-off-Farallones-Humpback-2557146.php.
  10. Darling J. D., M. E. Jones, and C. P. Nicklin. ‘Humpback Whale Songs: Do They Organize Males during the Breeding Season?’ Behaviour 143 (2006): 1051–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DuBois, T. A. ‘Oral Tradition’. Oral Tradition, 18.2 (2003): 255–57.Google Scholar
  12. Earle, S. A. ‘The Gentle Whales’. National Geographic 1551 (1979): 2–25.Google Scholar
  13. Encyclopedia of Earth. Whale Communication and Culture. 12 December 2012. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Whale_communication_and_culture.
  14. Fine, E. C. ‘Performance Praxis and Oral Tradition’. Oral Tradition, 18.1 (2003): 46–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Foley, J. M. ‘Editor’s Column’. Oral Tradition 18.1 (2003): 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haraway, D. J. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  17. Harris, T. G. A Whale’s Song: The Humpbacks of Eastern Australia. Lismore, NSW: University of Southern Cross Whale Research Centre, 2003.Google Scholar
  18. Herman, L. Cetacean Behavior: Mechanisms and Functions. New York: Wiley, 1980.Google Scholar
  19. Herman, L. ‘Vocal, Social and Self-imitation by Bottlenose Dolphins’. C. Nehaniv and K. Dautenhahn, eds. Imitation in Animals and Artifacts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.Google Scholar
  20. Herman, L. D. Matus, E. Herman, M. Ivancic, and A. Pack. ‘The Bottlenose Dolphin’s (Tursiops truncates) Understanding of Gestures as Symbolic Representation of Body Parts’. Animal Learning and Behavior 29 (2001): 250–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Killan, A., S. Yaman, L. von Fersen, and O. Güntürkünm. ‘A Bottlenose Dolphin Discriminates Visual Stimuli Differing in Numerosity’. Learning & Bevhavior 31.2 (2003): 133–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lord, A. B. The Singer of Tales. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960.Google Scholar
  23. Marcoux, M., H. Whitehead, and L. Rendell. ‘Coda Vocalizations Recorded in Breeding Areas Are Almost Entirely Produced by Mature Female Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus)’. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84 (2006): 609–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martinelli, D. ‘Zoomusicology and Musical Universals: The Question of Processes’. TRANS Revista Transcultural de Música 12 (2008). http://www.sibetrans.com/trans/a95/zoomusicology-and.
  25. McKean, T. A. ‘Tradition as Communication’. Oral Tradition 18.1 (2003): 49–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mercado, E. I., L. M. Herman, and A. A. Pack. ‘Song Copying by Humpback Whales: Themes and Variations’. Animal Cognition 8 (2005): 93–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Murray, L. Collected Poems. Melbourne: Heinemann, 1994.Google Scholar
  28. Noad, M., D. Cato, M. Bryden, M. Jenner, and K. Jenner. ‘Cultural Revolution in Whale Songs’. Nature 408/6812 (2000): 537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. The Oceania Project. ‘Songlines: Songs of the East Australian Humpback Whales’. CD. 2006.Google Scholar
  30. Pack A., and L. Herman. ‘Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Comprehend the Referent of Both Static and Dynamic Human Gazing and Pointing in an Object Choice Task’. Journal of Comparative Psychology 118 (2004): 160–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pepperberg, I. M. ‘Grey Parrots Do Not Always “Parrot”: Phonological Awareness and the Creation of New Labels from Existing Vocalizations’. Language Sciences 29 (2007): 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Richards, D., and J. P. Wolz. ‘Vocal Mimicry of Computer-Generated Sounds and Vocal Labeling of Objects by a Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursips truncates’. Journal of Comparative Psychology 98.1 (1984): 10–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rothenberg, D. Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound. New York: Basic Books: 2008.Google Scholar
  34. Russian Orcas Homepage. Killer Whale Acoustic Behavior. 2010. 21 September 2010. http://www.russianorca.com/Orcas/sounds_eng.htm.
  35. Savage-Rumbaugh, S. Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind. New York: Wiley: 1994.Google Scholar
  36. Science Daily ‘Secrets of Whales’: Long-distance Songs Are Being Unveiled’. 2005. 12 December 2012. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050223140605.htm.
  37. Segerdahl, P., W. Fields, and S. Savage-Rumbaugh. Kanzi’s Primal Language: The Cultural Initiation of Primates into Language. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Simmonds, M. ‘Into the Brains of Whales’. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 100.1-2 (2006): 103–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith J., A. Goldizen, R. Dunlop, and M. Noad. ‘Songs of Male Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, Are Involved in Intersexual Interactions’. Animal Behaviour 76 (2008): 467–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Watwood S., E. Owen, P. Tyack, P. and R. Wells. ‘Signature Whistle Use by Temporarily Restrained and Free Swimming Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus’. Animal Behaviour 69 (2005): 1373–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Williams, H. Whale Nation. London: Jonathan Cape, 1988.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Denise Russell 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise Russell

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations