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© Vanessa Mignon

Did sperm whales learn how to avoid whaling ships?

Sperm whale underwater

Did sperm whales learn how to avoid whaling ships?

A new scientific paper gives a fascinating insight into how sperm whales living in the Pacific Ocean learned how to avoid whaling vessels in the 19th century. Sperm whales only have one natural predator – the orca (killer whale) and will form tight circles when threatened with their tails facing outwards to defend themselves. This…

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Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live for many decades after their last calf.  The only other mammals reported to exhibit this unusual life history strategy are short-finned pilot whales, belugas, narwhals and humans. The question of why females of any species should stop reproduction before the…

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Dolphins sync when they work together

A new study has shown male bottlenose dolphins synchronise (sync not sink) their physical and verbal actions when they work together in a very similar way to humans. Using long-term acoustic data from studying a population of dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, researchers discovered that the male dolphins in the group matched the tempo of…

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Whale culture should play a part in their conservation says new international study

An international group of researchers working on a wide range of species, including whales, argues that cultural knowledge of these creatures needs to be taken into consideration when planning international conservation efforts and laws. A paper published in leading journal Science (Tuesday 26 February) makes a compelling case that growing scientific evidence on social learning, which can…

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Study reveals how smart dolphins get more snacks

The importance of considering whales and dolphins as individuals, each with their own personalities, experiences and strategies has been highlighted by a study of interactions between dolphins and fishermen off the beaches of Laguna, in Brazil published in the journal Animal Behaviour. At various locations in Laguna, between 10 to 20 dolphins will herd fish to where the…

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