[MARMAM] New Publication on interspecies postmortem attentive behavior (iPAB) in humpback whales (Jodi Frediani)

jodifredi at aol.com jodifredi at aol.com
Fri Jul 31 13:11:12 PDT 2020

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce publication of our short note in Aquatic Mammals.
Jodi G. Frediani, Nancy A. Black, and Fred Sharpe, Postmortem Attractions: Humpback Whales Investigate the Carcass of a Killer Whale-Depredated Gray Whale Calf. Aquatic Mammals 2020, 46(4), 402-410, DOI 10.1578/AM.46.4.2020.402 IntroductionScientists have observed postmortem attentiveness to a deceased member of one’s own species, or thanatology, in various animal taxa including cacophonous aggregations in crows (Swift & Marzluff, 2015), skull fondling by elephants (McComb et al., 2006), and leaf-dropping/adornment by chimps (Anderson, 2016). Biologists, cetacean field researchers, captive cetacean trainers, naturalists and whale watchers have observed cetaceans caring for, attending to, being aroused by, or showing interest in dead or dying individuals (see Bearzi et al., 2018 for a review). Recently, a female Southern Resident killer whale carried and pushed her deceased calf for approximately 1,000 miles over at least 17 days (Center for Whale Research, 2018). To date, nearly all records of postmortem attentive behavior (PAB) in cetaceans are from odontocetes and directed towards members of their own species (Hubbs, 1953; Norris & Prescott, 1961; Caldwell & Caldwell, 1996; Calloway, 2010).   Among the mysticetes, only one observation of PAB has been published (Pack et al., 1998). This involved two adult humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) males displaying sexual interest in a dead adult conspecific that had been observed in ongoing, strenuous competitive activities (rapid travel, chasing, head lunging) nearly two hours previously (Pack et al., 1998). Such activities are common behaviors in competitive groups (Baker et al., 1984). The cause of death was not determined. Here we report on two adult humpback whales investigating and making gentle physical contact (touching with flippers, flukes, back, abdomen and top of head) with a dead gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) calf. This extends the list of unusual social behaviors exhibited by humpbacks, while also providing the first report of interspecies postmortem attentive behavior (iPAB) between wild species of cetaceans.   The note is available here:  https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.46.4.2020.402    PDF requests can be sent to: jodifredi at aol.com
Best Regards,Jodi 
Jodi Frediani 831-426-1697jodifredi at aol.comJodi Frediani Photography
Wild Monterey Bay
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