Arabian Humpbacks- A Breed of their Own.
Scientists have recently discovered information further differentiating Arabian Humpbacks from other Humpbacks. Recent research reveals that Arabian Humpbacks' singing may be much simpler and that they have not bred with other whale species for 60,000 years.
Arabian Humpbacks are rather mysterious, having only been discovered as a genetically distinct humpback population in 2007. The vulnerable breed only has a population of roughly one hundred, which means that scientists are keen to learn as much about them as possible- as soon as possible.
So, what makes an Arabian Humpback different to other Humpbacks?
Arabian Humpbacks are the only Humpback Whale that doesn't migrate. The Humpbacks which visit us at Whales in Paradise, on the Gold Coast each year, come up this way because of the warm waters, which are ideal for breeding and giving birth. They then travel back down to polar waters so that they can feed, as only cold water carries the food that they need.
Arabic Humpbacks, however, are a completely different kettle of fish (excuse the pun). The Arabian Humpbacks stay in the Northern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Oman, all year round. According to the new series BBC Two- Wild Arabia, the Arabian Humpback Whales have lived in these waters for over 60,000 years. Furthermore, throughout this period they have not bred with any other kind of whale.
The isolation of this now endangered population of whales has contributed to its unique qualities, such as song. The BBC documentary discusses the recent discovery that the song of the Arabic Whale is much simpler than that of other Humpback Whales. Mr Baldwin, a scientist at the Environment Society of Oman's Whale and Dolphin Research Group, explained to the BBC that Arabian Sea Humpbacks "produced phrases, formed of sequenced notes, which they then might be joining into regular and repeatable patterns."
So, how is that different to your average Humpback Whale's song? Your typical Humpback song is composed of a theme- meaning a repeated phrase, not only a repeated pattern.
For more information on the mysterious and magical Arabian Humpback, visit BBC Nature and check out the short video of their discoveries. Have fun!