Whales learn songs from each other in a cultural 'deep dive'

1 Jul 2022

A University of Queensland-led study has found humpback whales can learn incredibly complex songs from whales from other regions.

pod of  humpback whales Dr Jenny Allen, whose doctoral work at UQ’s School of Veterinary Science led to the study, said researchers found New Caledonian humpback whales could learn songs from their counterparts from Australia’s east coast with remarkable accuracy.

“This really indicates a level of ‘cultural transmission’ beyond any observed non-human species,” Dr Allen said.

The study looked closely at the song patterns of male humpback whales from each region between 2009 and 2015, to examine how culture transmits between the populations.

Dr Allen said the complexity of the songs was determined by measuring both the number of sounds the whales made and the length of the sound patterns.

Read the full article on UQ News