The secret of whale communication has been discovered by researchers in their larynxes

His mystics “the real whales” (suborder Mysticeti) communicates through a unique system in the larynx, which works on a principle similar to that of land mammals such as humans and described for the first time in a study, reports AFP on Tuesday, writes Agerpres.

Whales PHOTO: Shutterstock

About fifty million years ago, the ancestors of whales had to adapt their communication system to avoid drowning. Odontocetes, – cetaceans with teeth like the modern dolphin – developed a nasal organ that allows them to emit sounds.

The researchers assumed that, in turn, mysticetes used their larynxes to produce vocalizations. But the mechanism of whale anatomy that enables these songs has not been truly understood, notes an article in the journal Nature that accompanies the study.

The first sailors heard these strange sounds, initially attributed to some mythical creatures or “the imagination of drunken sailors”remembers the American anatomist Joy Reidenberg in the article.

It was only after the Second World War that the sounds were recorded by military hydrophones and researchers understood that these songs were produced by whales.

In the study published by Nature, an international team coordinated by Coen Elemans, from the biology department of the University of Southern Denmark, combined experiments on the larynxes of three different species of mysticetes (humpback whale, minke whale, sei whale) with models anatomical and informatics.

He concluded that these animals had developed “unique laryngeal structures for sound production”.

Everything happens after the lungs are full of air, after inhaling and closing the valves that prevent water from entering, the whale produces the song by pushing the air through the larynx.

The measurements made by Coen Elemans' team also establish physiological limits of the frequency ranges of the songs, their duration and the depth at which the whales can emit them.

These sounds would thus be located mainly at the same depths and frequencies as the sounds produced by maritime traffic, disrupting communication between cetaceans.