Subject: Whale Sound Evolution

Phillip Colla (
Sat, 12 Jun 1999 19:39:41 -0700

>could you explain the theory that exists about the relation of evolution
>and sounds that whales make?

I'm sorry, but your question is not clear.  Do you mean, "What is the
evolution of whale sounds?"  If so, that is a broad question indeed.
You will need to consult discussions not only of whale evolution (and
perhaps that of extinct whales as well), but research into modern whale
acoustics.  Bioacoustics is a huge field.

Naturally, noone was around to know for sure when (long ago!) cetacean
sounds first occurred, or how the sound-making organs developed over time.
Researchers studying whale evolution may be able to make some guesses as
to the sound-making capability of their subjects through fossil records,
extrapolation to modern species and plain old intuition.

I don't have a more specific answer to your question than that.  I hope
that it helps.  I will pursue the matter and if I locate sources for you
I will forward them along.

Best regards,

Phillip Colla
Research Associate: