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Whales might learn feeding behavior through social culture

April 26, 2013

Whales might learn feeding behavior through social culture

Our study really shows how vital cultural transmission is in humpback populations,” Luke Rendell, a marine biologist with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

New research indicates that humpback whales might be learning new behaviors through socialization, a controversial claim in the realm of cetaceans.

Luke Rendell, a marine biologist with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, co-authored the study. A proponent of cultural transmission amid cetaceans, Rendell and his team explored a pattern of feeding habits displayed by a group of humpbacks in the Gulf of Maine around New England, U.S. They tracked the behavior using data collected via observers with the Whale Center of New England from 1980 to 2007.

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