The cultural life of whales | Feature

Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 19:20 in Biology & Nature

New research suggests that whales use their sophisticated communication techniques to develop distinct and separate cultures. Biologist Hal Whitehead and writer and self-confessed 'whalehead' Philip Hoare discuss this new frontierWhales are not only the largest animals that have ever lived – they are also among the most intelligent, and yet we still know very little about them. New research, however, suggests that sperm whales at least use sophisticated communication techniques to develop distinct and separate cultures. Here to discuss the latest in cetacean research to mark next month's Peninsula Arts Whale Festival, are Philip Hoare, a self-confessed "whalehead" and author of Leviathan or, The Whale, winner of the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, and Dr Hal Whitehead from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a world expert on sperm whales. Philip Hoare We're talking about our two disciplines, which meet on a very specific subject, the whale. ...

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