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How is whalesong like pop music? (And why?)

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“What we know about humpback whale song is amazing. They typically sing head down, tail up. Songs can last from five to thirty minutes. All of the males within a population will sing the same song.

“One of the most elaborate acoustic displays in the animal kingdom, but there is still so much we don’t know. And in particular, exactly why they sing.”

Spend seven minutes with marine biologist Dr Ellen Garland, who has helped to chart the journey of humpback whale songs across the Pacific Ocean.

whale song
mapping whale song
This Royal Society 8-minute short film is filled with illustrative animations that illuminate how whalesong, the moans, groans, purrs, whoops, whistles, croaks, barks, and bellows that male humpback whales sing, spreads across the oceans like pop music.

whale songs spreading through different cultures
Previously with Dr Garland: Mapping whale songs in the South Pacific.

Next, watch these handpicked videos about whale song, sound, and culture, and the technologies that help us visualize them:
• Explore Whale Songs and AI with Pattern Radio
Why (and how) do whales sing?
A.I. Experiments: Bird Sounds
• Will Computers Ever Hear Like People Do?
• Unendurable line – Design Ah!
Schlieren flow visualizations: What Does Sound Look Like?

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