Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Each White Whale Has Its Individual Voice

Date:
August 18, 2004
Source:
Informnauka (Informscience) Agency
Summary:
The fact that each white whale has individual voice is established by Russian scientists conducting research in the White Sea. Differences between white whales' voices can be used in estimating their number.

The fact that each white whale has individual voice is established by Russian scientists conducting research in the White Sea. Differences between white whales' voices can be used in estimating their number.

Related Articles


"White whale individuals can be distinguished by the sound of voice practically like humans," - tell V.M. Bel'kovich and S.A. Kreichi from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. The scientists observe the animals every year in the White Sea by the Bolshoi Solovetskii Island, where their stationary is located. There dwells a population of white whales that includes many females with calves. The acoustic system consisting of a hydrophone, amplifier, and digital recorder registers communicative calls of white whales within the range from 0.06 to 20 kHz. The stable population structure is beneficial for identifying and distinguishing individual voices of the animals.

Communicative calls of white whales can be compared to human sounds. The whales make various vocal-like, voice-like, whistling, flicking, bumping, hiccupping, and smacking sounds and noises. Therefore, methods for studying human speech are to a certain extent applicable to whales. Their calls can be arranged in blocks that can be grouped at higher hierarchical levels. Certain blocks are often repeated, which makes it possible to suggest that sounds make up syllables, and syllables make up words in whales' communication.

Using the computer program "Speech Analyzer" the researchers obtained amplitude/time, frequency/time, and spectrum/time characteristics of white whales' calls. They got especially curious about vowel-like sounds that are either short like vowels in human speech or long like a sort of singing or bleating. These sounds are most characteristic of whale individuals because of differences in their duration, pitch, and timbre. Hence, they can serve as an acoustic mark of an animal.

It is curious that white whales, like people, differ by voice pitch. In the studied population, animals with high-, moderate-, and low-pitched voices constitute 20%, 50%, and 30%, respectively. The distribution of voice pitches in white whale males and females is comparable with that in humans.

The researchers have carefully studied individual characteristic features of whale voices and verified the practical applicability of that knowledge as follows. Using their acoustic device they counted voices in a flock of white whales and estimated the number of animals at about forty, which coincided with visual survey data.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Informnauka (Informscience) Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Informnauka (Informscience) Agency. "Each White Whale Has Its Individual Voice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040816000932.htm>.
Informnauka (Informscience) Agency. (2004, August 18). Each White Whale Has Its Individual Voice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040816000932.htm
Informnauka (Informscience) Agency. "Each White Whale Has Its Individual Voice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040816000932.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pygmy Marmoset Getting a Toothbrush Massage Is the Cutest

Pygmy Marmoset Getting a Toothbrush Massage Is the Cutest

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) This rescued pygmy marmoset named Ninita is obsessed with her toothbrush. It's cuteness overload, and Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the amazing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Are Chocolate Makers So Worried?

Why Are Chocolate Makers So Worried?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 19, 2014) Two big chocolate producers are warning the popular treat could run out by 2020 because people are eating it faster than farmers can grow cocoa. Ciara Lee reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Hamster Eating Thanksgiving Meal Breaks the Internet

Tiny Hamster Eating Thanksgiving Meal Breaks the Internet

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A tiny hamster and a bunny and rat enjoy a tiny Thanksgiving meal where they stuff themselves to the brim. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the cute video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Panda at Toronto Zoo Loves Somersaulting in the Snow

Giant Panda at Toronto Zoo Loves Somersaulting in the Snow

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A giant panda at the Toronto Zoo named Da Mao is celebrating the northeast snowfall by playing and tumbling in the snow in his outdoor enclosure. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins