Sperm whales - behavior, etc.

From: Dagmar Fertl (dagmar_fertl@hotmail.com)
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 21:14:17 EST

Dear Dagmar Fert,
I'm looking for information about the social behaviour of the sperm whale, e.g. during danger, with respect to communication with each other, their intelligence.
Also I'm anxious to no if there has been any changes in behavior due to pollution and /or killing of them by human beings.
Sometimes sperm Whales are spotted at the Northsea coast. What explanations can be given when sperm whales come so near a coast.
I would like to get some answers because I'm doing a study on the sperm whale for a paper for the school of Classical Homeopathy in Amersfoort, The Netherlands.
Especially behavioral and mind-aspects are of importance.
Can you show me where I can find these answers? 
Thank you for helping me in advance.
L. Verheij- de Schrijver
There are some excellent sources of information for sperm whales. One of the oldest, but still a goodie, is a book on sperm whales by A. Berzin. It's not an easy one to locate, but has lots of information on some of the topics you ask about. Likewise, there is a nice book by Voyageur Press about sperm whales by J. Gordon. It is more a lay person book, but has some great up-to-date information.
I can't speak for behavioral changes due to pollution or if one should be alarmed about seeing sperm whales close to shore in the North Sea. If you like, I can give you contact information for some whale researchers in The Netherlands. They can probably answer those questions for you better than I can.
As for social behavior, etc., I would recommend a wonderful book - Cetacean Societies, edited by Mann et al. There is a good synthesis article on sperm whale behavior and social organization written by Hal Whitehead, one of the world's leading authorities on sperm whales.
I hope this helps you.
Dagmar Fertl

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