“Hidden Whale Culture Could Be Critical to Species Survival”

Wired Magazine article, via Reality Sandwich.

“‘We have no idea what’s going on. As we mess up the world, it goes off in all kinds of weird directions,” said biologist Hal Whitehead of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. ”The more diversity that’s out there, both genetic and cultural, the more whales can deal with it.'”

“One of the best-known example of marine culture comes from killer whales (which, technically, are dolphins, but they’re mentioned in the same breath as whales by biologists). Pods of killer whales have highly varied dialects and ways of life, even while sharing the same habitat — the aquatic equivalent of a neighborhood populated by two different ethnic groups.”

“New research is ‘giving us a window into really complicated societies,’ said Rendell. ‘You get a much better appreciation of the complexity. Ten or 20 years ago, it was just, ‘There’s a bunch of whales over here.’”

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