There’s a pop song that tells the story of a lonely whale continuously calling out to the world until someone can understand or hear its call. Lonely lonely lonely whale; like this, try calling once again, the translation of the song says, until this song that doesn’t have a response; reaches tomorrow.
The whale in today’s spotlight isn’t the same whale that the song took inspiration from, but the story is somewhat similar. Now, marine biologists have recorded the song of the world’s rarest largest whale – the eastern North Pacific right whale, for the very first time. Here’s CNN’s Amy Woodyatt with the details:
The calls, which researchers have been trying to capture and identify for years, are thought to be the cry of lone males trying to attract mates. In the remote Bering Sea, it is an increasingly difficult task as the population of the extremely endangered whale dwindles.
North Atlantic and Southern right whales have been found to use single gunshot calls, upcalls, screams, and warbles instead of the patterned phrasing that constitutes singing.
From initial field surveys in the Bering Sea, the NOAA researchers thought that the sound patterns they heard could be song coming from the right whale, but struggled to link the song to the rare mammal. After seven years of documenting sound patterns and combing through data collected from different locations in the Bering Sea, scientists were finally able to visually identify the right whales, confirming their theory.
“We heard these same songs during a summer survey in 2017, and were able to localize the songs to male right whales,” said Crance. “We can now definitively say these are right whales, which is so exciting because this hasn’t been heard yet in any other right whale population.”
Scientists think that these songs may be part of a reproductive display.
With their song finally reaching out towards the scientists, here’s hoping that their song also reach its tomorrow – the response of their female counterparts.
image credit : John Durban (NOAA) via wikimedia commons