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Did You Know?

Blue whales are now singing a lower tune

Blue WhalesBlue whales are the largest animals alive. They’re also the loudest animals alive, with songs reaching more than 165 decibels. That’s louder than a firecracker!

Scientists think that the songs, which only the male whale sings, might be getting deeper, too. They’re not sure why, but some researchers think that the deeper songs might reflect a happy situation: a growing number of blue whales.

The researchers suggest that when the blue whale population was much smaller, male whales may have had to sing more loudly to attract a mate. And it’s easier for them to be loud at higher frequencies. Today, because of bans on commercial whaling, scientists think that the blue whale population is growing. More whales means greater competition for mates. A deeper song by male whales may be more attractive to female whales because they choose their mates by size. The deeper the song, the bigger and stronger she may think her mate is!

Click here to hear a blue whale’s song, recorded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

For more news on blue whale songs, see the New York Times, “Whales’ lower pitch has experts guessing.” (July 29, 2008)