By analyzing thousands of calls from more than 100 whales over 14 years, scientists are learning how these secretive beasts spend their time.
The biggest animal to ever live is also the loudest, and it likes to sing at sunset, babble into the night, talk quietly with those nearby, and shout to colleagues 60 miles away.
The blue whale, which can grow to 100 feet long and weigh more than a house, is a veritable chatterbox, especially males, vocalizing several different low-frequency sounds. And for years scientists had only the vaguest notion of when and why these giants of the sea make all those sounds.
But this week at an annual ocean sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon, one of the world's top whale-call experts revealed the surprising ways these secretive animals may signal behavior with their vocalizations.