Most species of baleen whales are endangered. Fortunately, new research is focusing on helping these beautiful animals, and it all started with studying their skulls.
Researchers created a 3D computer model of the skull of a fin whale to attempt to understand the way these whales process sound. By passing simulated sound waves through the model, they found that the skull bones of the whale amplify low-frequency sounds. This helps explain how whale calls can travel so far underwater, allowing animals to communicate with each other over great distances.
Scientists have been concerned that military exercises and ocean tranport activities might create the types of low-frequency sound that could interfere with endangered whales’ communication and activity. If these low-frequency sounds vibrate through the whales’ skulls in the same way as their own calls do, it’s possible that human activity could be stressful to these whales. Understanding the way whales process sound may lead to new regulations limiting the amount of sound that human activities produce in the ocean.
It’s great to see research helping endangered species! Read more about it here.