This video from Australia says about itself:
The Oceania Project | 17 June 2008
We present to you the voice of Migaloo, the White [humpback] Whale. We thought it appropriate that Migaloo be granted the opportunity to speak before the meeting of the International Whaling Commission. As speakers are allowed only a few minutes to present their case, we extracted only the most poignant statements from our 1998 recording of Migaloo’s two hour discourse. ‘Migaloo’ means ‘White Fella’. He was named by Australian Aboriginal Elders.
The images are highlights from close extended pod encounters between 1988 and 2008. For images of Migaloo, please view the encounter as narrated by our intern Dave Williams:
”One of the great thrills of my life was hearing and feeling Migaloo’s voice pass through my body as he swam past The Oceania Project’s research vessel on October 2, 1998.”
The song is clearly audible through the hull of the research vessel. Depending on the proximity of the singer, the song is also audible standing on the deck. The sound pressure level of their song is reduced significantly once it passes into the air. Whales speak to each other constantly. The cadence and syncopation of their normal conversations are much different from that of their songs. They often make sounds above water through their nostrils.
Because water is denser than air it is a much better conduit for sound. If a singer is close you can hear him or her in much the same way standing on the deck as our recordings sound on YouTube. Of course the moment you enter the water, which we don’t because it is illegal and unnecessary, the sound is felt at it’s full sound pressure level, the equivalent of a jack hammer or loud rock concert.
We are working on several papers related to whale ‘language’. The term ‘language’ in relation to Humpback Whales is not yet accepted by the scientific community so we are careful about using it. Although we firmly believe that whales of all species have highly evolved languages.
Three researchers in Hawaii, two computer engineers and a marine biologist, have created a computer application to asses the entropy of whale sounds (loss of energy from a system in this case sound frequency) and have compared them to a range of human languages. They have concluded that Humpback sounds are equivalent to human languages. They used the recordings of Dr. Roger and Katy Payne, made in the 1970s, who were the first scientists to recognize that the unique sounds made by Humpback Whales were in fact conscious, complex evolving songs.
SONGLINES documents the evolution of the intricate and beautiful East Australian Humpback song. An hour of pristine digital recordings selected from five different years between 1992 and 2008 which draw the listener into a mysterious and majestic world.
Established in 1988, The Oceania Project is an independent, non-profit research organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and the oceans.
Humpback whale songs are transferred from year to year and evolve in a similar fashion to the verbally transmitted tribal lore of Aboriginal cultures from where the term songlines is derived.
The East Australian Humpback Whales travel in an unending cycle of migration between their birthplace in the inter-reef lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef and their Antarctic feeding areas.
Their world is comprised of vast stretches of ocean where songs emitted by the Humpback Whales can be heard over great distances. Each year the whales sing a new song. Haunting melodies of radiant joy which fill the ocean along the East Coast of Australia.
When ecosystems across the planet are collapsing and species are becoming extinct at an accelerating rate, the East Australian Humpback Whales are making a remarkable recovery. They have become Australia’s national treasure and a symbol of hope for our imperiled environment.
We as the new generation of caretakers of the planet Earth have learnt from the mistakes of our elders and are helping nurture the Rebirth of a Species.
Audio CD: 5 Tracks, running time 60 minutes. Track 3 features Migaloo the White Whale recorded in 1998.
© The Oceania Project – All Rights Reserved
To celebrate the annual return of the Humpback Whales, sixty Australian communities are participating in the Humpback Icon Project. Each of these communities has adopted a known individual Humpback Whale from The Oceania Project’s Fluke Catalogue:
In Naturalis museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, there will be an exhibition about whales and dolphins, from 15 October 2010 to 21 August 2011.
This is a Dutch TV video about putting together a humpback whale skeleton for the exhibition.
Whale snot collected by remote control helicopter: here.
Tune in to the live whale song network: here.
USA: Bay Area Whale Deaths Blamed On Krill, Ship Traffic: here.
Whales Help Fertilize Ocean With Floating Dung: here.
Tagged Narwhals Track Warming Near Greenland: here.
With a long tooth and deep dives, tagged narwhals give researchers valuable info about warming waters: here.
October 2011: WWF is supporting a new project to track narwhals, Arctic whales best known for the long tusk that projects forward from their faces: here.
February 2011. WDCS has submitted a legal petition in the USA, backed by 19 organisations, calling on the United States government to impose trade sanctions on Iceland for its whaling and trade in whale products: here.
Beware Meta-Studies: An Example From Whale Evolution: here.
Whale skulls might have twisted origins, with the oldest known whales possessing contorted skulls that might have helped them hear better underwater, researchers suggest: here.