In any birthing area, humpbacks sing the same, slowly evolving song. Learning strains from one another, they sing across the fathoms, their phrases and themes shifting in a pattern of small changes until they stitch new songs of older material.
Songs at the end of the summer transform from the beginning of the season. Biologists Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell write that, in Hawaiian waters, groups of the North Pacific variety alter their own songs in response to songs they have heard from other, very distant, humpbacks.
This suggests music carries across thousands of miles. When apart the songs of different socializing groups evolve at similar rates. Or at some meeting place mid-migration do humpbacks gather?
Mysticetes do not have phonic lips
or a museau de singe as with
whales like odontocetes
Larynges large as British call boxes
Megaptera novaeangliae’s U-
folds between upper and lower
respiratory systems vibrate