Scientists deciphering the language of sperm whales

Sperm Whales’ Complex Vocalizations Decoded: MIT Study Unveils 150 Distinct Repeating Patterns

Sperm whales have long been known for their intelligence, long lifespan, and highly social behavior. However, researchers have been puzzled by the apparent simplicity of their vocalizations. Despite leading complex lives, sperm whales seem to repeat the same sounds over and over again.

A Ph.D. student at MIT, Pratyusha Sharma, has introduced a new method of analyzing sperm whale communication that has unveiled a level of complexity previously unseen. In a study published in Nature Communications, Sharma and her colleagues examined sperm whale vocalizations in relation to one another and identified at least 150 distinct repeating patterns, known as codas. These codas can vary in rhythm, tempo, sound length, and additional sounds that can alter their meaning.

By focusing on the relationships between different codas and considering various variables, scientists have gained a deeper understanding of sperm whale communication. This groundbreaking study represents a significant advancement in our understanding of these fascinating marine mammals and their intricate communication system.

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