Research uncovers more secrets about how whales ‘talk’

Scientists in Germany have moved a step nearer to understanding the different dialects that whales use when they communicate with each other.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization used computers to analyse a range of aspects of long-finned pilot whale communication, such as whistles, and then built up a ‘set of rules’ or patterns of communication.

Whales have their own cultures of communication, similar to the way a human might pick up an accent, or way of speaking, from parents.  The patterns of sounds of the various different groups of pilot whales studied in the waters around Norway indicated that each group ‘talked’ in its own particular way – with its own distinct dialect.

This research is yet another fascinating insight that reveals how these intelligent creatures live in their close social groups, some passing on knowledge from one generation to the next, and why WDC is working towards international recognition of the rights of whales and dolphins.

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Long finned pilot whales