[MARMAM] New publication: Cultural revolutions reduce complexity in humpback whale songs

Jennifer Allen j.allen3 at uq.edu.au
Sun Nov 25 15:49:18 PST 2018


Dear MARMAM,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce the following publication:

Jenny A. Allen, Ellen C. Garland, Rebecca A. Dunlop, & Michael J. Noad. (2018). Cultural revolutions reduce complexity in the songs of humpback whales. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol. 285 no. 1891 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2088

Abstract: Much evidence for non-human culture comes from vocally learned displays, such as the vocal dialects and song displays of birds and cetaceans. While many oscine birds use song complexity to assess male fitness, the role of complexity in humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song is uncertain owing to population-wide conformity to one song pattern. Although songs change gradually each year, the eastern Australian population also completely replaces their song every few years in cultural ‘revolutions’. Revolutions involve learning large amounts of novel material introduced from the Western Australian population. We examined two measures of song structure, complexity and entropy, in the eastern Australian population over 13 consecutive years. These measures aimed to identify the role of complexity and information content in the vocal learning processes of humpback whales. Complexity was quantified at two hierarchical levels: the entire sequence of individual sound ‘units’ and the stereotyped arrangements of units which comprise a ‘theme’. Complexity increased as songs evolved over time but decreased when revolutions occurred. No correlation between complexity and entropy estimates suggests that changes to complexity may represent embellishment to the song which could allow males to stand out amidst population-wide conformity. The consistent reduction in complexity during song revolutions suggests a potential limit to the social learning capacity of novel material in humpback whales.

The paper is available via the following link:  http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1891/20182088
[http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/sites/default/files/highwire/royprsb/285/1891.cover-source.jpg]<http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1891/20182088>

Cultural revolutions reduce complexity in the songs of humpback whales<http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/285/1891/20182088>
rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org
Much evidence for non-human culture comes from vocally learned displays, such as the vocal dialects and song displays of birds and cetaceans. While many oscine birds use song complexity to assess male fitness, the role of complexity in humpback whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) song is uncertain owing to population-wide conformity to one song pattern. Although songs change gradually each year, the eastern Australian population also completely replaces their song every few years in cultural ‘revolutions’. Revolutions involve learning large amounts of novel material introduced from the Western Australian population. We examined two measures of song structure, complexity and entropy, in the eastern Australian population over 13 consecutive years. These measures aimed to identify the role of complexity and information content in the vocal learning processes of humpback whales. Complexity was quantified at two hierarchical levels: the entire sequence of individual sound ‘units’ and the stereotyped arrangeme

Alternatively, please email me on j.allen3 at uq.edu.au<mailto:j.allen3 at uq.edu.au> or jenny.allen at griffith.edu.au<mailto:jenny.allen at griffith.edu.au> for a pdf copy.

Best regards,
Jenny Allen



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dr. Jenny Allen
Honorary Research Fellow
Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory
School of Veterinary Science
University of Queensland Gatton Campus
QLD, Australia 4343

mobile (AUS): +61 424 773 994
mobile (US): +1 508 281 1813
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/marmam/attachments/20181125/aa7690d5/attachment.html>


More information about the MARMAM mailing list