The Loneliest Whale in the World

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http://www.good.is/post/the-loneliest-whale-in-the-world/

On their most recent episode of their always-enjoyable¬†Dinner Party Download¬†podcast, American Public Media’s Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam featured the story of “a lonely whale with vocal problems whose love song supposedly chases lady whales away.”

According to a 2004¬†New York Times¬†article¬†on the subject, this particular baleen whale has apparently been tracked by NOAA since 1992, using a “classified array of hydrophones employed by the Navy to monitor enemy submarines.” It sings at 52 Hertz, which is roughly the same frequency as the lowest note on a tuba, and much higher than its fellow whales, whose calls fall in the 15 to 25 Hertz range.

To make matters worse, the high-pitched whale “does not follow the known migration route of any extant baleen whale species.” The result, according to Dr. Kate Stafford, a researcher at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, is that the lonely whale keeps “saying ‘Hey, I’m out here,’” but “nobody is phoning home.”

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