Researchers studying whales in the western Indian Ocean have baffled. They recorded a previously unheard-of whale song, describing a “slow, superhero” song before The New York Times. After some underwater spying, they reported a Saeed discovery in the magazine Endangered Species Research: The song belongs to a previously undiscovered group of blue whales. This is particularly good news considering that blue whales, which grow to colossal size, are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, notes a post in Earth. After being hunted to the brink of extinction, it is estimated that the number of blue whales present is somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000. It is not clear how many people may belong to the new population.
“It was very cool to find a whale song in your data that was completely unique, previously unreported, and identified as a blue whale,” says study co-author Salvatore Sirchio of the Whale Program of the Africa Aquarium. Blue whales generally sing low pitched songs but each group has its own version, he explains Informed daily. That is why the researchers were able to identify the new population, which could be a unique subspecies. “It’s like hearing different songs within a genre – Stevie Ray Vaughan vs. BP King,” says Serchio. Times. “It’s all blues, but you know the different styles.” The researchers say the finding increases the importance of protecting whales through shipping regulations and carbon emissions. (Read more stories of the blue whale.)