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Imagine hearing a heartbeat like sound in the ocean … but not knowing the source. Whale Trust researchers including Jim Darling spent a decade listening for these sounds and wondering what they were. Finally, on a calm glassy day these 40 Hz pulse sounds were recorded within a few meters of a pair of Humpback Whales off of Maui. Even more convincing, the sounds increased in volume as the whales got closer and became softer as the whales swam away. This led to the publication of a new paper describing these so-called mystery sounds for the first time. If verified, and these sounds are indeed another communication channel for humpback whales beyond the familiar song and social sounds, it could completely change how we view and interpret whale behavior on the breeding grounds.
Click the following link to hear a recording of the sound that has everyone so excited.
Photographer Flip Nicklin is a co-founder of Whale Trust. A selection of his work is available as prints from AnimalsandEarth.