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Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like baleen in their mouths

Thu, 29 Nov 2018 14:24:23 EST ~ Rivaling the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of life was the evolution of baleen -- rows of flexible hair-like plates that blue whales, humpbacks and other marine mammals use to filter relatively tiny prey from gulps of ocean water. Now, scientists have discovered an important intermediary link in the evolution of this innovative feeding strategy: an ancient whale that had neither teeth nor baleen. Find out more...

Whale songs' changing pitch may be response to population, climate changes

Wed, 28 Nov 2018 18:21:53 EST ~ Blue whales have been dropping pitch incrementally over several decades, but the cause has remained a mystery. A new study finds a seasonal variation in the whales' pitch correlated with breaking sea ice in the southern Indian Ocean. The new research also extends the mysterious long-term falling pitch to related baleen whales and rules out noise pollution as the cause of the global long-term trend, according to the study's authors. Find out more...

A bigger nose, a bigger bang: Size matters for ecoholocating toothed whales

Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:50:18 EST ~ A new study sheds light on how toothed whales adapted their sonar abilities to occupy different environments. The study shows that as animals grew bigger, they were able to put more energy into their echolocation sounds -- but surprisingly, the sound energy increased much more than expected. Find out more...

Humpback whales come to the Mediterranean to feed themselves

Thu, 15 Nov 2018 11:53:22 EST ~ Although the presence of humpback whales in the Mediterranean has been considered unusual, it is known that their visits have increased in the last 150 years. A recent study indicates that what motivates these cetacean mammals to enter these waters is the search for food. Find out more...

Killer whales share personality traits with humans, chimpanzees

Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:46:19 EST ~ Killer whales display personality traits similar to those of humans and chimpanzees, such as playfulness, cheerfulness and affection, according to new research. Find out more...

Protecting adult female north atlantic right whales from injury and death key to recovery

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 10:36:05 EST ~ Why is the endangered western North Atlantic right whale population growing far more slowly than those of southern right whales, a sister species also recovering from near extinction by commercial whaling? Researchers looked more closely at the question and have concluded that preserving the lives of adult females in the population is by far the most effective way to promote population growth and recovery. Find out more...

Bats vs. Dolphins: Ultimate battle of sonar systems

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 17:18:08 EST ~ To find ways to improve human-made active sensing, scientists worldwide study the sonar systems of bats and dolphins. Find out more...

Orcasound: A citizen science tool for whale research

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 16:13:20 EST ~ Computer algorithms are playing a growing role in analyzing hydrophone audio data when monitoring marine life, but human listeners can complement and enhance these algorithms. A project known as Orcasound has produced a web application that will enable citizen scientists to listen to livestreaming audio from hydrophones near the San Juan Islands. Find out more...

First study of humpback whale survivors of orca attacks in the Southeastern Pacific

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 15:04:16 EST ~ Scars left by orca attacks indicate that most victims are young whales on the first trip from breeding to feeding grounds. Increasing numbers of scars may mean that there are more orcas in the Southern Pacific, researchers say. Find out more...

Watching whales from space

Thu, 01 Nov 2018 09:20:44 EDT ~ Scientists have used detailed high-resolution satellite images to detect, count and describe four different species of whales. The research is a big step towards developing a cost-effective method to study whales in remote and inaccessible places, that will help scientists to monitor population changes and understand their behavior. Find out more...