Nature Rambles

As if humpbacks were not astounding enough…
by Ian Markham -- October 7th, 2016

As if humpbacks were not astounding enough, a small subset have learned to break their solitary habits and form cooperative bubble net feeding groups with distinct specialities. The screamer calls the cadence and petrified the herring with a high pitch squeal that causes them to ball up. Then fin flappers flash the white underside of their pectorals to add a bewildering stimulus while a bubble blower ascends from below creating a rising spiral of expanding effervescent gas that forms a net to contract the fearful fish. Then altogether these unrelated whales rise and engulf in their huge maws the school of fish taking up to 16,000gallons in a single gulp and straining the contents back across their baleen. Not only does this suggest these animals have culture but also that they are tool users not so unlike ourselves!

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