A new study suggests that the Humpback Whale seeks its mate based on size. Using sonar and underwater cameras, scientists have gained new knowledge of the mating behavior of these whales. They have learned that female humpback whales often search for the largest male they can encounter during breeding season, while the smaller females tend to pair with smaller males.
The study, completed by Dr. Adam Pack, a biologist and psychologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo tracked and monitored 67 pairs of male and female humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean of Hawaii. Underwater videogrammetry was used to capture images of the whales at sea. The device uses a technique that records the whales with a camera while using a sonar device to estimate the distance of the whale from the camera. They then use simple geometry to determine the length and size of the whale.
Dr. Pack also noted that various juvenile whales were discovered paring off into male-female groups during the study. This suggests that the whales are observing and “learning the social conventions” as Dr. Pack noted.
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