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The 52-Hertz Whale

I was gonna do a follow up post on the foot prints that were discovered with an article on unidentified sounds. Maybe I will still do that, but there is one piece of sound byte that I found interesting. This sound is called the 52-hertz whale. What is the 52-hertz whale? Well, it's an unidentified whale that has a louder call than the loudest whale, the blue whale. This whale was first discovered in 1989 by William Watkins from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In 1992, the whale call was picked up again by using hydrophones called SOSUS. SOSUS is a sound surveillance system that was used by the U.S. Navy to detect enemy submarines during and were made available for oceanographic research in 1992. The sounds were similar to the calls of blue whales, but the frequency was too different for a blue whale.

The frequency of a blue whale call ranges from 10-39 hertz.

It was even suggested that it could have been a call from a fin whale. While the pattern of the call is similar to a fin whale the frequency of a fin whale call is 20 hertz.

Since the 52 hertz whale is unidentifiable and plays a different tune it was given the nickname World's Loneliest Whale. Whales sing a tune that helps communicate with each other and they sing at a specific frequency. They also call to locate food, for navigation, and plays a certain role for selecting a mate. Since the 52 hertz whale sings a different song, it is suggested that this whale could be deaf since no other whales are able to hear it. Ever since the discovery in 1992, the frequency of the 52 hertz whale has deepened around 47-49 hertz over the years. This implies that the whale has fully grown or matured. Every year, the 52 hertz whale is heard and recorded. There are plans for a movie to search for this whale, but the problem is finding it and tracking it. If the researchers at the institute do happen to find it, then they will help back the movie's production. Hopefully one day the world will get to meet the world's loneliest whale.

Despite nobody ever seen this whale in person it has a similar migratory pattern as both blue and fin whales. From this piece of information, it is theorized that the 52 hertz whale is a hybrid of both blue and fin whales. It is not uncommon for a hybrid species of whales to come out of the wood works. The problem is finding one alive. Proof that whale hybrids do exist can be found in DNA tests on whale meat that are being sold at Japan's fish markets. So these hybrids are out there, but the number of these whales are scarce. Also, there is the other problem. Hybrids are naturally born sterile. Meaning that they can't make babies. This is due to the parents coming from two different species of whales having different number of chromosomes. Usually, mating happens within their own species. One half of the genes comes from the mother's egg and the father would give the other half of his genes with his sperm during mating. When the baby is born and fully matures the cycle can repeat itself over again. However, hybrids have extra chromosomes and those extra chromosomes blocks any viable sex cells needed to pass on their genes. So even if a male and a female hybrid did find each other they won't be able to mate and pass on the genes to the next generation. Not all stories get a happy ending.

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