Scientists wants wildlife enthusiasts to help decode whale song

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”.

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Estas entrada foi publicada en Curso 2011-2012, Evolución, paleontoloxía, Medio Ambiente, Ecoloxía coas etiquetas . Ligazón permanente.

3 Responses to Scientists wants wildlife enthusiasts to help decode whale song

  1. I like very much what you’ve found. It’s a really stimulating collaborative project. When I entered in their internet site there were 494,228 people taking part worldwide. Are you one of them? Have you already tried to match whale calls?

  2. 1bbesama di:

    Tout le monde a besoin de s’exprimer, non ? (mais oui!) et si nous étudions les langues « humaines » avec horribles et parfois difficiles grammaires, avec tonnes de terrible vocabulaire (quoique je ne peux pas comprendre cette forme de connaître ou essayer apprendre les langues parce que c’est complètement ennuyante…) ; pourquoi ne prêter attention aux messages d’autres animaux mammifères comme nous ?
    Communication peut-être plus « simple »mais non pour ça moins complète.
    Si Baudelaire ne m’avait parti l’âme avec un livre du 1857, peut-être je serais dans le baccalauréat de sciences pour accomplir un rêve du passé que a été la biologie marine.
    J’aime vraiment ça. Et j’ai aimé aussi ton article parce que tu as choisi un thème intéressant et aussi parce que tu as prouvé que tous nous avons l’opportunité d’être scientifiques par un jour. Je ne sais pas beaucoup d’anglais, mais dans mon ignorant avis, je crois que la rédaction est bonne et que ton effort au écrire dans une langue comme l’anglais devrait être bien récompensé !
    Fascinante!

  3. I really liked your article, knowing that other animals can communicate in a similar way than us, emitting sounds, shows that we are not the only ones able to “talk”. In my opinion, the way animals from the same species interact with each other is fascinating, and this study allows us to discover how whales communicate to each oter. Whales’ language may help them to survive because they might warne each other from dangerous situations for example. I tried to clasify the whales’ sounds, even though I dind’t manage to clasify them correctly. However, it was funny and quite interesting.
    Refering to the way the article is written, I think is very easy to understand and you don’t use really complicated vocabulary. I also thinke the grammar is good and you use simple sentences, and in my opinion, there aren’t any impostant mistakes.
    Excellen job!

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