52 Blue: The Loneliest Whale In the World?

MrRING

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Strange-Voiced Whale at Large in the Ocean -Study

LONDON (Reuters) - A lone whale, with a voice unlike any other, has been wandering the Pacific for the past 12 years, American marine biologists said Wednesday.

Using signals recorded by the US navy to track submarines, they traced the movement of whales in the Northern Pacific and found that a lone whale singing at a frequency of around 52 hertz has cruised the ocean since 1992.

Its calls, despite being clearly those of a baleen, do not match those of any known species of whale, which usually call at frequencies of between 15 and 20 hertz.

The mammal does not follow the migration patterns of any other species either, according to team leader Mary Anne Daher.

The calls of the whale, which roams the ocean every autumn and winter, have deepened slightly as a result of aging, but are still recognizable.

The study by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, appears in the New Scientist magazine.

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A

Anonymous

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A whale?
I think not.
Only Spongebob knows for sure.
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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I saw something at an aquarium in Hawaii in the late 1980's. Its keepers called it a "wolphin". Apparently, a bottlenose dolphin and a pilot whale had bred to produce this animal . . . and no, they didn't make it do any tricks.
 

sunsplash1

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Lone whale voice in a wet wilderness

Mysterious whale's song baffles biologists]
A lone whale, with a voice unlike any other, has been wandering the Pacific for the past 12 years, according to US marine biologists.

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts have traced the movement of whales in the northern Pacific by using signals the US Navy records to track submarines.

They have told New Scientist magazine that the lone whale, which sings at a frequency of about 52 hertz, has cruised the ocean since 1992.

Its calls, despite being clearly those of a baleen, do not match those of any known species of whale, which usually call at frequencies of between 15 and 20 hertz.

Team leader Mary Anne Daher says the mammal does not follow the migration patterns of any other species either.

The calls of the whale, which roams the ocean every autumn and winter, have deepened slightly as a result of ageing but are still recognisable.

Despite the whale's unique song, Ms Daher says she doubts it belongs to a new species.

-Reuters

Last Update: Thursday, December 9, 2004. 7:21pm (AEDT)
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/20 ... 261785.htm


:(
Reading the above made me feel terribly lonely...
:D
On the other hand, what an individual!
 

CuriousIdent

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Upon speeding the whale voice up the following was discovered...

"#...I love you baby, and if it's quite all right, I need you baby...#"

Whales - The DJs of the sea...*






*If you have never seen this Eddie Izzard routine you wont have a clue what I'm no about...
 

TheQuixote

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example said:
I saw something at an aquarium in Hawaii in the late 1980's. Its keepers called it a "wolphin". Apparently, a bottlenose dolphin and a pilot whale had bred to produce this animal . . . and no, they didn't make it do any tricks.


I wouldn't have ever imagined that dolphins and whales could interbreed.

My own phobia about dolphins and whales has just taken a more sinister turn... :(
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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Oops . . . my bad. It was a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin that had a baby. A google search for wolphin can find a bunch of sites for anyone whose interested. I'm off to read about the wolphin now, just wanted to correct my original post.

Edit: at any rate, if two different species of cetacian can interbreed in captivity, then the mystery whale may well be the result of interbreeding in the wild. And yes, this whale sounds very lonely and sad. What I don't get is why it would be ostracized from whatever group it was born into. Speculate, speculate, speculate . . .
 

Bullseye

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There are two types of whale, the cetaceans (baleen) whales they are the big buggers, and the toothed whales,dolphins,beaked, killers,pilots and sperm whale (biggest of the toothed).And no ones realy sure how many speices there are!.
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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I thought dolphins and whales were all Cetaceans. Update: the wolphin in question is female, the only known hybrid of its type, and has herself had a baby in 1991 with a dolphin father. I guess both wolphin and baby are still alive, as I couldn't find any articles about either of them passing on. Could the mystery whale be an undiscovered species? Maybe, but I vote for hybrid or mutant, since it's a SINGLE whale voice that's been picked up, rather than a group.
 

Bullseye

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example said:
I thought dolphins and whales were all Cetaceans.

Yes your right they are, me bad,sorry tired,its baleen and toothed,apolagies. :oops:
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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No need to apologise, Bullseye, you afforded me the opportunity to be right about something for a change. Thank you. ;)
 

Leaferne

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"Mystery whale" in north Pacific

Navy helps track suspected blue whale
By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer

WOODS HOLE, Mass. – For the past 15 years, the Navy has been eavesdropping on an odd beast that wanders the North Pacific Ocean.

It’s a whale, of the baleen group that includes the humpbacks, and it may be some kind of blue whale. Nobody knows, but he (or she) has an unusual voice, which allows Navy hydrophones to pick it out from all the thousands of other whales in millions of square miles of empty ocean and follow its wanderings.

And wander it does. Passive hydrophone tracking has been used to monitor sea mammals for a long time, but usually the recordings have lasted for minutes, perhaps a few hours.

This whale has been recorded for months at a time.

Not continuously, of course, but the voice is so distinctive that Navy locators are able to fix its position closely enough to reconstruct its path. One year’s track was followed for more than 11,000 kilometers, nearly 6,000 miles.

The whale with a voice but no name is called the “52-Hz Whale” by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. A research paper on “52-Hz” was published in Deep-Sea Research recently.

One of the authors, Mary Ann Daher, said Tuesday in a telephone interview that one of the main insights from tracking “52-Hz” was to learn how much we do not know about what whales are capable of.

“Do we really know what blue whales do out there?”

The answer is, not much.

The Navy’s Sound Surveillance System, designed to detect submarines, has hydrophone listening posts on the ocean floor. For years, the data collected were secret, but in 1992 part of the information was declassified.

“52-Hz” could be singled out because his call was within the range of blue whales but lacked the 17-Hz fundamental tone that goes along with it in other blues.

Nobody knows why. It could be a “developmental problem,” or possibly “52-Hz” is a hybrid.

It’s hard to imagine what other whale might mate with a blue, which is twice as big as the next biggest animal, the fin whale; but hybrids are known among the cetaceans.

In 1985 at Sea Life Park in Honolulu, a “wholphin,” half bottlenose dolphin, half false killer whale, was born, to the surprise of the animal keepers there.


Daher says propositions about the source of the voice track of “52-Hz” are “just speculation,” since no one has ever sighted the whale.

If it could be done, using hydrophones to track individual whales would be a great help to researchers. The 5,000 humpback whales that winter in Hawaii are studied by at least a dozen researchers, but once they pass over the horizon on their way back to Alaska, little is known about them.

The Navy sound surveillance and similar records have been used to track populations, but Daher says finding an individual animal in a group of animals that sound alike is probably beyond practical possibilities.

“It’s very hard to distinguish one from the masses.”

“52-Hz” has been deepening his voice over the years, almost like a teenage boy; it’s down to 49 Hz now.

Most of the time, “52-Hz” travels north and south, which is what is expected of a blue whale in the North Pacific. However, from time to time, the track is east-west, and at other times the path seems truly aimless.

However, he calls only about half the year (August to February, with December to January the peak); so nothing is known about his behavior at other times.

Daher says the Navy’s hydrophone array is “a beautiful system for working on baleen whales,” because their deeper voices are easy for Navy experts to pull out of the buzz of noise in the ocean.

Smaller whales, with higher-pitched voices, are less easy to deal with acoustically.

Trying to track whales visually is wearisome and subject to bad weather.

“52-Hz” spends most of his time above 50 degrees north latitude, although he has been heard as far south as 22 degrees – the latitude of Maui.

However, he hangs out far to the east of us.

No one has ever sighted a blue whale in Hawaiian waters, according to Naomi McIntosh, the director of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

However, from 1978 to 1981, Navy scientists Paul Thompson and William Friedl recorded undersea noises off Oahu, and they identified a “long pulse” noise from blue whales, presumably migrating past the islands.

The low-register rumble travels a long way in the water, and it was not possible to pinpoint the location.

The other authors of the “52-Hz” research paper, all associated with Woods Hole, were the late William Watkins, Joseph George and David Rodriguez.

Source

I found this particularly fascinating because I'd never realized there could be hybrid whales--duh. :)
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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I read this article twice and couldn't tell if the researchers thought 52-Hz was travelling in a pod, or solitary. Did I miss something?
 

sunsplash1

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No, but I think the researchers did...
:?
 

Kondoru

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Whats the betting its a common or garden whale with a defomed voicebox?
 

Thirtysixth_Bee

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Homo Aves said:
Whats the betting its a common or garden whale with a defomed voicebox?

The article Leaferne posted mentioned the whale's peculiar vocal range could be the result of a "developmental problem". That does seem more likely, but isn't an interspecies cetacian love child a romantic notion? :blissed:
 

Kondoru

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Yes, and though unusual, not beyond the bounds of known bilogical probability.

"But daddy, hes got such a delightful grin!"
"Hes a humpback, and they come from the wrong side of the Pacific."
 

ruffready

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hey!!

humans got NEIL YOUNG!! why not a whale with a shakey voice ???
 

Yithian

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A very long and interesting discussion of 52 Hertz / 52 Blue here:

A legend was born: the loneliest whale in the world.

In the years since, 52 Blue—or 52 Hertz, as he is known to many of his devotees—has inspired numerous sob-story headlines: not just “The Loneliest Whale in the World” but “The Whale Whose Unique Call Has Stopped Him Finding Love”; “A Lonely Whale’s Unrequited Love Song”; “There Is One Whale That Zero Other Whales Can Hear and It’s Very Alone. It’s the Saddest Thing Ever and Science Should Try to Talk to It.” There have been imaginative accounts of a solitary bachelor headed down to the Mexican Riviera to troll haplessly for the biggest mammal babes alive, “his musical mating calls ringing for hours through the darkness of the deepest seas, broadcasting a wide repertory of heartfelt tunes.”
Full Article:
https://magazine.atavist.com/52-blue?no-overlay&preview
 
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