Communicating under oceans is challenging! It’s hard for animals to see but sound moves around 40 times faster in water than in air so in this dark environment, humpback whales and marine mammals uses vocalization to communicate.
That ́s why a million of sounds such as pulses, whistles, cries and so much more, fills the ocean. The largest mammal, humpback whales, composes the most famous part of this underwater symphony.
Whale songs are one of the most sophisticated communication systems among nature.
But how did they do it?
These astounding life-expressions have a U shaped fold of tissue between their lungs and their large inflate organs called laryngeal sacs.
A theory says that when a whale sings, muscular contractions in the throat and chest move air causing the U fold to vibrate. This sound resonates in the sacs like an opera singer in a concert making sounds so loud to travel for a thousand of miles away.
Our favorite visitors have composed for centuries unique songs extremely variable. In one recorded session a humpback whale sang for 22 hours.
Even the best singers in the world didn ́t do that before!
The human knows just a little about the content of their songs, but we do know that whales have an individual signature tune that it sings at the start of each message.
Why do they sing?
- To mark their territory
- To look more attractive
- To coordinate migration
- To communicate with their young
- Just for fun!
Whales return to the same feeding and breeding grounds annually, and as a family, each population has a different song.
If the whales can keep singing and the human can keep listening, maybe one day we will understand what they are saying?