A Song Like No Other

A Song Like No OtherHeres a program from our archives.Most species of whales produce mechanical sounding noises, but there is a huge exception, a species in a singing class all by itself. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. ambience, humpback whales Payne: The utterances of humpback whales are long, complicated, fabulous, interesting, extraordinary, collections of noises and sounds which have everything from things that sound like outboard motors to things which are high, beautiful, keening notes. Roger Payne is president of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. A while back, after listening carefully to recordings of humpback whales, he and colleague made an exciting discovery.Payne: Years and years ago in concert with a man named Scott McVay, we found that the long, complicated rigmaroles of sounds produced by humpback whales are actually repeated after long periods, by long periods up to thirty minutes, but normally about fifteen minutes. And then repeated very exactly. In fact, therefore, they are songs because when an animal repeats itself in a rhythmic way, it’s singing. When they are singing away, they finish a song and go right on to the next one without the slightest break. Now what they actually go on to is a repeat of of what they have just sung. This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

A Song Like No Other

How Roger Payne discovered that the long, complicated vocalizations of the humpback whales were actually songs. This archival program is part of our 30th anniversary celebration.
Air Date:07/27/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

A Song Like No OtherHeres a program from our archives.Most species of whales produce mechanical sounding noises, but there is a huge exception, a species in a singing class all by itself. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. ambience, humpback whales Payne: The utterances of humpback whales are long, complicated, fabulous, interesting, extraordinary, collections of noises and sounds which have everything from things that sound like outboard motors to things which are high, beautiful, keening notes. Roger Payne is president of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. A while back, after listening carefully to recordings of humpback whales, he and colleague made an exciting discovery.Payne: Years and years ago in concert with a man named Scott McVay, we found that the long, complicated rigmaroles of sounds produced by humpback whales are actually repeated after long periods, by long periods up to thirty minutes, but normally about fifteen minutes. And then repeated very exactly. In fact, therefore, they are songs because when an animal repeats itself in a rhythmic way, it's singing. When they are singing away, they finish a song and go right on to the next one without the slightest break. Now what they actually go on to is a repeat of of what they have just sung. This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.