Friday, November 16, 2007

Killer Whales Attempt to Put the Past Behind Them

A recent study conducted by Michael Noonan suggests that much like humans, killer whales show “making up” behavior. This new information comes from over 2,800 hours of videotape recordings, form MarineLand in Niagara Falls. Although aggressive behavior among these marine mammals is normally rare, the footage captured 21 brief disputes. Most of the quarrels identified were complicated because they were between a few different whales. However 8 of these spats were apparent and occurred between mother and father killer whales.

In each of these interactions the mother whale would chase the father until he would perform tricks to evade his partner and get away. Then the two would separate for a “cooling off period” for about 10 minutes. After this occurs one might assume that the whales would just go about their normal routines as if nothing had happened but surprisingly the two would join again and begin to swim together side by side. This synchronous swim is referred to as “echelon swimming”. This peacemaking display would go on for another 10 minutes or so.

It is important to mention that the behavior I’ve just described has only been observed with killer whales in captivity. Apparently wild Orcas do not display these scuffles with family members. However in the wild pods of whales have been observed doing this echelon swimming after conflicts with another pod. This behavior seems to both calm the group and mend social bonds.

Posted By: Caitlin Sanders

Source:
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/816/3

3 Comments:

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Peanutbutter&Jelly said...

This study was very interesting to read about. How can they be sure though that the behavior observed was an aggressive behavior between the two whales, and showed that they were fighting? Many times a lot of mammals or animals engage in these type of behaviors while mating. Was this not just another example of it? However, if they had more studies done and proof for this, then this is a really interesting study to learn more about because this is the kind of behavior we normally notice in humans and if Whales can also perform this same type of behavior that's really surprising and extremely interesting. This was a really good article, it makes me want to search more on this topic and learn more about it in detail whether or not they really can do this. Good Job!!!!!!!!!


Posted by PB&.

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Caitlin,
This is a very interesting article! Killer whales are always portrayed as mean animals so it's nice to see a softer side to them. It would be interesting to see if wild orcas would exhibit this behavior if held captive. This is an overall really interesting article, good job!

By: Emily King

 
At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting that in the wild this behavior is observed only between pods and not individuals. Although in captivity whales are obviously in very small groups and so they don't interact with other pods, you would think in the wild it would be important to stay on good terms with others in your own pod as well.

Posted by Elizabeth Adams

 

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