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Whale song anatomically explained - NRC

Whale song anatomically explained – NRC

The colorful humpback whale looks at you with an almost human appearance. humpback whale (Megaptera novangelii(belongs to the group of baleen whales)Mysticity). As their name suggests, these whales do not have teeth but rather baleen; Brush-like plates filter plankton and small fish from the ocean.

In the summer, humpback whales spend some time in the polar regions, then migrate to warm waters around the equator to give birth to their calves, as shown in photos near Polynesia. Ocean giants are also known… Singing in low tonesAllowing them to communicate with their peers and partners across huge distances, even in dark waters.

Illustration by Patricia Jacqueline Matich

How do they make these sounds? Until recently this was not known. Now a team of researchers from Denmark and Austria has the answer. They recently wrote that sound is created by a uniquely developed structure in the humpback whale's larynx nature. This larynx is depicted in the illustration above on the right.

In the lab, the researchers mimicked the sounds of three beached baleen whales — a humpback whale, a minke whale, and a sei whale — by blowing air through their fresh throats. Measurements of air pressure, airflow, and sounds have provided insight into the unique function of the larynx.

Unlike most mammals, baleen whales do not have vocal cords. In adapting to life underwater, the baleen whale's larynx evolved to prevent suffocation underwater; There are no longer any vocal cords.

AP Photos

Conventional vocal cords would get in the way and increase resistance when inhaling and exhaling 4,000 liters of air, as baleen whales do. Instead of vocal cords, there is a U-shaped structure that is constantly open to the air supply. This structure, marked by the gray portion of the larynx, is pushed against an internal “cushion” of fat and muscle tissue during inhalation. This causes vibrations in the fat, resulting in the bass sound.

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Researchers point to a problem. Baleen whales live up to 100 meters below sea level. Noise from ships overwhelms the frequency range of whale sounds: 5 to 300 Hz. This hinders communication between whales which is essential for mating and migration.