Thursday, 9 December 2004

Cetacean Soprano

From the ABC :
A lone whale, with a voice unlike any other, has been wandering the Pacific for the past 12 years, according to US marine biologists.

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts have traced the movement of whales in the northern Pacific by using signals the US Navy records to track submarines.

They have told New Scientist magazine that the lone whale, which sings at a frequency of about 52 hertz, has cruised the ocean since 1992.

Its calls, despite being clearly those of a baleen, do not match those of any known species of whale, which usually call at frequencies of between 15 and 20 hertz.

Team leader Mary Anne Daher says the mammal does not follow the migration patterns of any other species either.

The calls of the whale, which roams the ocean every autumn and winter, have deepened slightly as a result of ageing but are still recognisable.

Despite the whale's unique song, Ms Daher says she doubts it belongs to a new species.

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