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Blue Whale Talk

March 28, 2007

Scientists have matched blue whales’ calls to some behaviors.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Tracking the largest animal on Earth. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[humpback whale calls]

HIRSHON:
The fascinating songs of humpback whales are familiar to scientists and the public, but those of blue whales—the largest animals on Earth—are much less known. Now scientists from Scripps Oceanography in California have linked these endangered whales’ sounds to their behaviors by tagging them with suction-cup recorders. Team leader Erin Oleson sped up this one sound made by feeding whales to make it easier for us to hear.

[blue whale sounds]

ERIN OLESON (Scripps Institution of Oceanography):
So they’ll be feeding and then they talk a little bit—it’s kind of like eating at a diner where you chat a little but and then you go back to eating for a while and then you chat a little bit.

HIRSHON:
Thanks to this research, scientists will be able learn more about blue whales around the world by eavesdropping.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.