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Posted Sat Apr 16 2011: from BBC:
Humpback whale song spreads to other whales
Recordings of male humpback whales have shown that their haunting songs spread through the ocean to other whales. Researchers in Australia listened to hundreds of hours of recordings gathered over more than a decade. These revealed how a specific song pattern, which originated in Eastern Australia, had passed "like Chinese whispers" to whale populations up to 6,000km away in French Polynesia.... The research team, led by Ellen Garland from the University of Queensland, say the findings show the animals transmit such "cultural trends" over huge distances.... Using sound analysis software, Ms Garland and her colleagues discovered that four new songs that had emerged in a population in Eastern Australia gradually spread eastwards. Within two years of this new song being invented, whales in French Polynesia were singing this same "version". "It's a culturally-driven change across a vast scale," said Ms Garland.... "We can only begin to speculate what those factors might be, but exploring this will certainly open a new understanding into the lives of these truly cosmopolitan, singing giants."
[Read more stories about: marine mammals, rights of nature, hunting to extinction]
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'Doc Jim says:
Too bad they're just dumb animals, or we might not hunt 'em.

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