The 7 dialects of Pacific sperm whales would be a sign of the existence of a culture
The study is the fruit of the work of 27 scientists.
The study is titled “Evidence from sperm whale clans of symbolic marking in non-human cultures” (Evidence from sperm whale clans of symbolic marking in non-human cultures).
Pacific Sperm Whales Are Divided Into Seven Clans, Each With A Distinct Dialect, Study Finds That This Is An Important Marker Of The Existence Of A Culture in these mammals.
The study was published in September in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .
Culture, a pillar of the remarkable ecological success of humans, is increasingly recognized as an important force structuring populations of non-human animals, the study's abstract reads. p>
This research is the result of the work of 27 scientists from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States.
Its lead author, Taylor Hersh of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, notes that she and her colleagues used recordings of 23,429 codas captured at 23 Pacific locations to establish the ;existence of seven clans of sperm whales, each with a unique accent.
Codas are a series of clicks emitted by sperm whales to communicate with each other.
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Researchers have established that some of these codas follow unique patterns that serve as markers of group membership.
The study also shows that the dialect used by these sperm whales is more pronounced when the territories of two clans overlap. This allows sperm whales to clearly distinguish their membership, as the researchers explain.
Researchers conclude that these membership markers are the sign of membership. existence of a culture within the species.
In particular, they point to remarkable similarities in the distribution of human ethnolinguistic groups and sperm whale clans.
“Our study provides quantitative evidence of arbitrary traits, resembling ethnic markers in humans, giving cultural identity to a non-human species .
—excerpt from Evidence from sperm whale clans of symbolic marking in non-human cultures