ScienCentral reports that whales have cultures:
Humans may not be the only mammals who have different cultures….
“Whales are pretty hard to study, but evidence is coming up from quite a number of species that in a whole range of ways, they’re learning things from each other and they’re passing it on to other whales, and that’s culture,” says Hal Whitehead, biology professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada…. Whitehead says whale culture isn’t exactly like ours; for instance, whales don’t have opposable thumbs, so they can’t make objects to pass on through the generations. “[Whale] cultures are in their minds and not in the things that they make,” says Whitehead. So much of what scientists know about whales comes from studying their language.
What do they have in common with our cultures? “Whale culture has, like human culture, a range of types and styles,” says Whitehead. “At one end, there are the fast moving what might be called ‘pop’ cultures,” such as when male Humpback whales sing songs to attract females or ward off other males. “These songs evolve, so that at the beginning of the breeding season they’re all singing one song and then it’s changed a bit by the end,” says Whitehead. “And after a couple of years they’re singing a totally different song.”
But other whale languages don’t change as quickly. The dialects of killer whales, which travel in large extended-family groups called pods, “seem to change much more slowly and to be linked to particular social structures,” says Whitehead. “A particular pod will have its own dialect, and that dialect will be similar to pods which are the members of the same clan, and clans will have dialects which are different from one another.”
This is the kind of thing that makes you really think….