Is This the Sound of a Whale in Love?

December 7, 2015 - Audio recorded in the presence of humpback whales near the Hawaiian island of Maui reveals a newly detected heartbeat-like sound. You'll need to wear headphones (or use a good subwoofer) to pick up these low-frequency sounds, which are close to the low limit of human hearing. Scientists aren't sure what role these "pulse trains" may play in whale communication. The sounds were recorded, however, when adult females had male company, suggesting a possible role in the mating game. The research was partially funded by the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration. The audio and video aren't synchronized, but both were recorded in the same time period.

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"Mysterious New Humpback Whale Song Detected"

Learn more about humpback whales.

Video from Humpback Whales, courtesy Pacific Life
Footage taken under NMFS Permit #13846
Audio courtesy Whale Trust Maui
Associate Producer: Jed Winer