Humpback whales changing their tunes, study finds
A humpback whale breaches off Australia.
April 15th, 2011
01:34 PM ET

Humpback whales changing their tunes, study finds

Whether to keep up with keep up the coolest tunes or to stand out from the crowd, male humpback whales change their songs over time, researchers in Australia report.

Researchers had known that male humpbacks sing as part of courtship and mating behaviors. Now they think the whales may be mixing up their playlist to show off.

“We believe the song is continually changing because the males wish to be novel or slightly different to the male singing next to them," Ellen Garland, a doctoral student at the University of Queensland, said in a news release.

Other times, the whales may be picking up a tune they've heard before, sort of a sub-Pacific top 40.

“The way whales change their song can be compared to how humans follow fashion trends – someone starts a new trend, and before you know it, everyone starts wearing the same thing," Garland said.

The whale tunes move eastward across the Pacific, starting off in Australia and spreading to French Polynesia, according to the study.

“I noticed that the songs moved quite rapidly through the six populations, usually taking two years to spread all the way across the region,” Garland said.

The observed pattern and scope of cultural change is "unmatched in non-human culture," according to the university's news release.

The whales were studied over an 11-year period. The full study is published in the journal Current Biology.

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Filed under: Animals • Australia • Nature • Whales
soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    I called her Queen Bee cause everyone thinks she can do no wrong and I knew if I asked her to stop this would happen, every one would turn on me. I did ask politley. No I wont say Im sorry cause I know I asked her and I know she answered

    April 16, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    Look I think we should agree to disagree. No more of this , it's not the end of everyone's world if this isn't ended they way you want. There are more important things. She knows I told her why without telling her my personal reason for not liking that word.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. serious?

    Wow you people got serious issues! Can you say LAMES!

    April 16, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

      Yes u see it too, phew

      April 16, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    No she didnt. Maybe everyone sides with her because they know she didn't do anything. you go off on people when they don't deserve it. Did you ask somebody else and you thought it was her?

    April 16, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

      It was her John, your were not there the first time I asked her, so dont tell me I asked and she didnt answer

      April 16, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    John why are you so bent on this, who are u? this issue is done for me. Good nite

    April 16, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    I really don't want to be anywhere in near her now after this conversation.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. serious?

    I don't think jazzzzz did anything wrong! Ppl just need to get their panties out of a bunch... and live in the real world... smh

    April 16, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    Thank you, nice to know some one believes me .

    April 16, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Really?

    Way I see it, Jazzzzzzzzz, you have come on the blogs and caused more bs than any other blogger here. What is you problem? Are you jealous of the other women here? Or are you just trying to land a man? Quit talking s*@t about other people. You've done it before with other people, and now you're doing it to Banasy. What, do you think she doesn't read your comments? You're an ass. Grow up and start acting like a 46 year old woman instead of a 7th grader. And stop chatting so GD much. Just. Shut. Up.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sarah

    Then you should disappear, everyone here loves banasy, you are very stubborn, talk to yourselve 'stub-lady'.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • rdger

      My boyfriend thinks the same with me. He is 12 years older than me, lol. We met online at A'geM'ing'le. com The premiere online community for older women seek younger men or older men seek younger women to meet and share your interests. Ever feel that you would best enjoy someone who is not in your age group? Leave behind the other general dating sites out there and try us.

      April 16, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    Number one I dont talk about everyone, I have never talked about anyone. Number two: I dont want to LAND a MAN. Lucifer is a friend end of story there.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    If you don't reveal yourselves , everyone is going to question you.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    I must be talking to TROLLS , boy am i slowwwwwwwwww. GOOD NITE:)

    April 16, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Really?

    Reveal ourselves? Lmao. I'm Really? And you just got done taling s#@t about Banasy, so you just have proven yourself to be a liar. Again.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    Maybe I gave my number out to some one who I thought would be a friend. Only gave it out to ONE PERSON you MORON. NOOOOOOO I AM NOT GOING TO BE SMEARED LIKE THIS BYE TROLLS OR WHOM EVER YOU ARE.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
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