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Gradually, the songs spread between populations , so that a tune from an Indian Ocean population, for instance, might crop up among humpbacks of the South Pacific—like an ocean-wide game of telephone. A team led by marine biologist Jenny Allen of the University of Queensland analyzed recordings of eastern Australian humpback whales, taken over the course of 13 consecutive years. The researchers found that the songs gradually evolve to become longer and include more parts, possibly due to flourishes that individual males come up with to distinguish themselves from the rest of the chorus.

Every few years, however, the whales abandon their sophisticated melody in favor of a sparser song. But make no mistake: humpback whales are highly sophisticated creatures. Having a better understand of what drives cultural and social learning in whales could, therefore, help scientists gain new insight into why these traits have evolved with unparalleled complexity in humans.

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Bloomsbury Collections - Colonialism, Culture, Whales - The Cetacean Quartet

Ingenuity Ingenuity Awards. The Innovative Spirit. Featured: Reality Gets an Upgrade. Travel Taiwan. American South. Travel With Us. Stunning images from principal photographer Brandon Cole and others, along with depictions by marine mammal illustrator Uko Gorter, enliven the text.

Mysticete Sounds

Hoyt writes movingly on life cycles, the future for these animals, and how readers can get involved in protecting them. Verdict: For patrons of all ages. Hoyt draws on his decades of experience studying and writing about cetaceans , and has created an excellent up-to-date resource with the latest insights into our understanding of cetaceans.

Hoyt explains his vision for the book in this trailer.


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I've been a fan of Hoyt's work since I was almost a child myself and found a copy of 'Orca' in the village library, and he's at least partly to blame for my own cetacean obsession. The vivid descriptions of playing music with killer whales have stayed with me ever since, set me dreaming Hoyt's clear, engaging writing has taken me on many astonishing journeys - to the complex society of ants in the rainforest, to the bizarre creatures of the deep oceans and to encounters with whales and dolphins throughout the world.


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  • For Erich has spent his working life immersed in the world of whales and this book brings together the wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom he has gathered in his travels. It covers human-whale relationships, from Aristotle's observations through the whaling days to the recent 'revolution' in research, in which he's played an integral part. He then takes us through the basics of whale biology, before introducing all 90 known species.

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    It's incredibly comprehensive, and I guess that's what an encyclopedia is, but to me the word doesn't do justice to the richness of the narrative. There's a story here, of the relationship between people and whales - one of the most beguiling and critical stories still unfolding on this blue planet.

    The Snail and the Whale Song

    It's shot through with personal experience, and we're introduced to individual characters, both human and cetacean. This book will be an invaluable resource and up-to-date reference for anyone working in wildlife issues, and a treasured source of information and inspiration for the whole family.

    It's set us all dreaming The encyclopedia highlights intriguing cetacean details The author examines the controversy regarding the slaughter of some whale species to near extinction and the growth of the international conservation movement over the past 50 years. Hoyt persuasively argues that there is an urgent need to globally protect whales and their environment The final chapter includes illustrations and fact boxes for all 90 cetaceans.