Swimmers join humpback whale as it bellows out beautiful song
Humpback whales are among the most majestic and beautiful creatures in all of the oceans. They are famous for their complex and beautiful songs that can be heard for hundreds of miles. These lucky tourists are part of a group who have traveled from all over the world to swim with the whales in Tonga and experience their magnificence from only a few meters away. Humpbacks journey here each July to October to give birth and mate, in an environment free of predators.
This large male humpback is putting on a show for them, allowing them to drift beside him as he relaxes and sings. He is mildly curious about these small creatures with fins who share the ocean with him. He has cruised past them, eyeing them and trying to figure them out as well.
These whale songs are part of a sophisticated method of communication that we have not even begun to understand. Humpback songs have been recorded that last for twenty minutes before looping and and repeating. We cannot decipher the meaning behind their clicks, whines, and groans, yet we are mesmerized and captivated by them. Together with their spectacular leaping breaches at the surface of the water, these songs make the whales one of out most recognizable and beloved animals.
The humpback whale is a wonder of evolution that has yet to be figured out by scientists. As recently as 100,000 years ago, these whales and their toothed whale cousins were the most intelligent living creatures on the planet, surpassing even the intellectual capacity of our primate ancestors at that time.
As recently as 50 million years ago, the ancestors of whales were actually land dwelling animals the size of large dogs. They began growing and spending more time in lakes and swamps. They took to the oceans and evolved into the massive creatures that we see today. In fact, whales are the largest creatures to live on earth, ever. Surpassing even the largest dinosaurs for the massiveness, whales have evolved surprisingly quickly compared with other species. As we begin to understand their beauty, complexity, and intelligence, we can't help but look at our behavior towards them. Whaling was common up until twenty years ago, and some countries still continue the practice. Knowing that they live to over 100 years of age, and that they communicate with each other almost as well as we do, what must they think of our species? To lose these incredible animals would be beyond tragic.