Friday, April 01, 2005

Friday Killer Whale Blogging

The April edition of National Geographic is really interesting. In addition to the two articles I recently wrote about, there is also an article on killer whales that is totally fascinating. The article concerns pods of killer whales that reside off the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia. The killer whales are divided into three types: residents, transients and offshores. The article focuses on the residents. Within the residents group pods are divided into matrilines. Several pods with common ancestors and dialects are considered clans (the anthropologist in me is loving this), clans that share a common range are grouped into communities. Rather like Darwin's Finches, each pod has it's own unique dialect of calls - which are learned from mother's and older siblings (OOOHH, transmission of culture). This is where it really gets fascinating! One resident (northern)community spends quite a bit of time rubbing on "pebbly beaches in shallow water". A nearby southern community doesn't. On, the other hand, the southern community spends a lot of time engaging in spectacular aerial displays Posted by Hello

(is this heaven or what - cultural behavior in killer whales- I love it). The best, for me, is yet to come. Those of you who have read this post know that I have certain, minor, very minor, quirks when it comes to sharks (especially if they wink). Turns out, killer whales have major issues with sharks - of any kind. From the National Geographic article " What do they do when they meet a great white shark? Lunch, according to witnesses." But don't take their word for it, here is a video! Ya just gotta love anything that has culture, is darn cute and yet is tough enough to dine on sharks.Posted by Hello

Oh, and P.S. should any of you be on the internet and just happen to run across pictures of sharks winking, do, please, bring them to my attention.