Humpback Holler

Why Whales Leap High




Paul S. Wolf/Shutterstock.com

Humpback whales are famous for their prodigious leaps from the water. A recent paper published in Marine Mammal Science proposes that breaching the surface and making a big splash serves as an acoustic telegram to communicate with far-off pods. The phenomenon may be compared to a distant drumbeat, which probably carries farther than the whales’ signature songs.

Former University of Queensland marine biologist Ailbhe S. Kavanagh, Ph.D., and her colleagues observed 76 humpback groups off the coast of Australia for 200 hours between 2010 and 2011 and found that breaching is much more common when pods are at least 2.5 miles apart, with more local slapping of fins and flukes when fellow whales are nearby.


This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Landfill Eulogy

Sweden’s waste-to-energy plants are so efficient that it has closed many landfills and actually imports trash to burn from other European countries.

Window Pain

As many as one billion migrating birds die annually when they collide with glass windows in the United States.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Green Remodeling Offers Many Perks for Homeowners

No matter the remodeling goals, incorporating sustainable materials can play an important role in creating a beautiful and healthful personal space.

Maytawee and the Art of Healing

Born in Scotland, Maytawee was given the gift of storytelling.

Run and Walk Against Hate in Evanston

The 13th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate will be held June 17, at Long Field, in Evanston.

A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Body

Elizabeth Strzelecka, DDS, owner of Holistic Dentistry Chicago, is a biological dentist who recognizes the impact of toxic substances and uses only materials and procedures that are systemically compatible with the patient’s body.

Discover a New World of Flavor with Ancient Heirloom Dried Beans

Americans are rediscovering freshly harvested dried beans in the form of ancient heirloom varieties.

Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Landscape architects, garden builders, plant growers and artists will be in attendance at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, held from March 10 through 18, at the Navy Pier.