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Scientists Have 20-Minute “Chat” With Humpback Whale In Unprecedented Encounter.

Humpback Whale swimming underwater.

We’re celebrating a recent “conversation” with a humpback whale. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you might remember that the 1986 movie “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” centered around this subject. While that was a fictional tale, the recent breakthrough in whale communication is 100 percent real.

Humpback whale identified as Twain joining a conversation with Whale-SETI scientists off the Alaskan coast.
Image from YouTube.

Many of you know about the organization SETI, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. There is an arm of this organization named Whale-SETI. Their main focus is to decipher the language of whales to develop a template for potential communication with extraterrestrial beings. It is known that whales use a complex series of sounds and tones that allow them to communicate with one another.

The humpback whale conversation occurred on December 12, 2023, as reported from Mountain View, CA. Scientists from the SETI Institute, the Alaska Whale Foundation, and the University of California Davis (UC Davis) joined forces on the program. The primary goal of the program is to develop a set of intelligence filters to better understand the whale language. The hope is that this set of filters might be useful in SETI’s ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Whale-SETI scientists will continue to study whale communication. This research may help in translating future signals from outer space.
Image from YouTube.

During the testing period of 20 minutes, scientists played a “contact” call underwater. A humpback whale named Twain joined the conversation, swimming around their boat. While circling the boat, Twain responded to the calls in a “conversational style.” Several different sound sequences were in use. Each time, Twain responded, matching the interval variations between the signals. Scientists believe this is the first time this type of humpback whale communication has occurred.

The Future May Hold Additional Humpback Whale Conversations

Humpback whales are very intelligent and maintain complex social systems. They employ the use of “tools” when creating bubble nets to catch fish. The songs and social calls of humpbacks have been under study for many years. Scientists are able to “understand” some of their communication. Even though it may sound like a sci-fi movie, the real conversation between Twain and Whale-SETI is a huge breakthrough.

Twain answered recorded calls, matching intervals and responding in a conversational manner.
Image from YouTube.

The humpback whale conversation during this encounter was limited to 20 minutes by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA regulates the transmission of sounds underwater in order to protect ocean inhabitants. The scientists involved in the conversation with a humpback whale will continue their research.

We hope you enjoyed this underwater excursion into the complex language of whales. We are continuously learning more about the other occupants of our planet. Please share this with friends so they can celebrate this major advancement.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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