Podcast: Have Whale Songs Changed Over Time?

by Ryan Schleeter

March 15, 2016

Check out episode 13 of Completely Optional Knowledge, the podcast that answers questions you never knew you had. Some things in life are #CompletelyOptional — satisfying your curiosity doesn’t have to be one of them.

Humpback Whale in the Indian Ocean

A Humpback whale breaks the surface as it heads south to Antarctica for the summer.

© Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Music critic Stacey Anderson has listened to a lot of songs in her time. So many, in fact, that she’s grown a bit bored of human music. Now she’s curious about the famous crooners of the deep blue: whales.

We spoke to humpback whale expert Ellen Garland to find out what makes whales sing what they sing.

Ellen’s research suggest that, at least among humpbacks, it’s male whales singing to impress — who else — female whales.

Early evidence indicates that the most successful casanovas are the ones that bring in new, novel sounds each year, but in reality, we’re not even sure what female whales prefer.

Hi, Whale

Gif via 1cutetomboii.tumblr.com.

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Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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