Humpback Calves "Whisper" To Their Moms To Avoid Predators

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A mother and calf humpback whale swim in the Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia. Photo Credit:
Fredrik Christiansen/Functional Ecology

Every winter, hundreds of humpback whales migrate long distances from their high latitude feeding grounds in the Arctic and Antarctic to warmer tropical regions to breed and give birth. The newborn calves, which consume over 52 gallons of milk on a daily basis, have only a few months to pack on the body fat needed to survive the long trek back to cooler waters in summer. How the babies signal hunger and avoid predators during these formative months has always been a mystery to scientists.

“We know next to nothing about the early life stages of whales in the wild, but they are crucial for the calves’ survival during the long migration to their feeding grounds,” says study lead author Simone Videsen of the University of Aarhus, Denmark. "These early life stages of wild whales are so elusive because they're an aquatic animal. We can't follow them around all the time to see what they're doing."

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Reading Comprehension (8 questions)

  1. What do humpback whales do every winter?
  2. How much milk do newborn calves consume every day?

Critical Thinking Challenge

After reading the article, would you say humpback whales are good...


Vocabulary in Context

The moms acknowledge the requests by responding with quiet calls. This is very different from the normally loud and eerie adult whale songs which reverberate across...

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  • boopernoopsThursday, April 5, 2018 at 10:46 am
    the whale noises where hilarious
    • GraceTuesday, March 6, 2018 at 8:48 am
      • Lilly cuteWednesday, January 31, 2018 at 4:15 pm
        So cute 🐋☺️
        • ADDWednesday, January 24, 2018 at 7:49 pm
          This is Add, I thank that the whales and the calves make there own noises that there mother know what they are talking about. It was also it was interesting how they tracked the whales down
          • ggTuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11:44 am
            • jblanch1
              jblanch1Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 7:27 am
              OMG! Super CUTE! If Any Preditors TRY To Get To Those Babies, They'll Have To Get Through Me First!!!! WHO'S WITH ME?
              • Rainbow or LuckMonday, October 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm
                • marya
                  maryaTuesday, October 10, 2017 at 8:44 am
                  <3 Animals
                  • jordanbat235
                    jordanbat235Monday, October 9, 2017 at 5:30 am
                    • meepThursday, October 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm
                      i love whales, GO NATURE

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