Dynamic horizontal cultural transmission of humpback whale song at the ocean basin scale

Garland, Ellen C., Goldizen, Anne W., Rekdahl, Melinda L., Constantine, Rochelle, Garrigue, Claire, Hauser, Nan Daeschler, Poole, M. Michael, Robbins, Jooke and Noad, Michael J. (2011) Dynamic horizontal cultural transmission of humpback whale song at the ocean basin scale. Current Biology, 21 8: 687-691. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.019

Author Garland, Ellen C.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Rekdahl, Melinda L.
Constantine, Rochelle
Garrigue, Claire
Hauser, Nan Daeschler
Poole, M. Michael
Robbins, Jooke
Noad, Michael J.
Title Dynamic horizontal cultural transmission of humpback whale song at the ocean basin scale
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2011-04-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.019
Volume 21
Issue 8
Start page 687
End page 691
Total pages 5
Place of publication Cambridge, MA, U.S.A.
Publisher Cell Press
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Cultural transmission, the social learning of information or behaviors from conspecifics, is believed to occur in a number of groups of animals, including primates, cetaceans, and birds. Cultural traits can be passed vertically (from parents to offspring), obliquely (from the previous generation via a nonparent model to younger individuals), or horizontally (between unrelated individuals from similar age classes or within generations). Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have a highly stereotyped, repetitive, and progressively evolving vocal sexual display or “song” that functions in sexual selection (through mate attraction and/or male social sorting). All males within a population conform to the current version of the display (song type), and similarities may exist among the songs of populations within an ocean basin. Here we present a striking pattern of horizontal transmission: multiple song types spread rapidly and repeatedly in a unidirectional manner, like cultural ripples, eastward through the populations in the western and central South Pacific over an 11-year period. This is the first documentation of a repeated, dynamic cultural change occurring across multiple populations at such a large geographic scale.
Keyword Megaptera-novaeangliae
Breeding grounds
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 44 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 02 Sep 2011, 16:58:01 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Veterinary Science