Some marine scientists have launched an appeal to people interesting in decoding the secrets of a whale song in an experiment on the internet. The project was launched by Scientific American and the online science organisation The Zooniverse.
The project consists in studying about 15000 recordings of calls by pilot whales and killer whales around the planet, to investigate the differences in each group’s calls, like a dialect, and they could discover different kinds of messages from analysing these calls.
Both species have such complex types of sounds, and some of these sounds are repeated again and again, what means that they are not random. Every type of sound would be compared and matched to the context where it is produced, like hunting or social situations.
People who wants to join to the project will be asked to identify identical or very similar sound patterns, and they could play back each sound to help scientists match segments.
Prof Ian Boyd, one of project’s collaborators had discovered that people were often naturally much more able than computers to see similarities in complex spectograms. Mariette Dichristina, the editor in chief thinks that one doesn’t need a science degree to be a scientist. All you need is curiosity about the world around you.
I taked this article from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/29/scientists-public-whale-song.
From the original source: https://www.zooniverse.org/project/whalefm, where we can participate in the project, I can check by myself how different can be the whale sounds, in each situation, and how easy is to clasificate them.
In my opinion, this is a very interesting project that allows people to collaborate on science, and helps scientifics to carry out their experiment.
I think it would be interesting to know more about whales “language”.