Sunday, May 29, 2005

Popular blogosphere blogger Joi Ito reports on a conversation with Dr. Roger Payne, the president of Ocean Alliance, a MacArthur-winning whale researcher. It turns out that Humpback whales riff off each other, remixing one another's songs, and developing trends and fashions in their singing over time:

"He explained to me that Humpback Whales sang beautiful songs. They copy from each other, remixing the songs and add to the songs. These songs evolve over time and riffs get passed from whale to whale across the world. The songs have lots of interesting variations and even have rhymes. He made an interesting observation that the whale songs of the 60's were much more beautiful than the whale songs these days." Posted at Joi Ito's Web

Also - link to Ocean Alliance's site.

So, why are the songs not as beautiful anymore: is the web of life becoming corrupted? Polluted? Singing, after all, reflects our happiness - like when we sing in the shower/bath... I hope our evolutionary shift is not losing it's beautiful song...

1 comment:

Christian said...

I feel tempted to ask this question: who are we to judge the aesthetic value of the songs of the whales?

To the best of my knowledge, no such yardstick has been agreed upon/invented yet. I also have strong doubts whether that will ever happen.

As if it weren't problematic enough to understand why some people like and spend money on albums by Christina Aguilera...