Whale culture and CAS perspective

This is from Mayer-Kress’s work in 2000. “Culture can be viewed as one manifestation of an emergent, self-organized structure of a complex, adaptive system. (Strogatz 1994)……In cultures without written language, songs play an important role in preserving the community’s collective memory……recurrent structure and patterns in humpback whale songs that are similar to musical themes and motives in human songs. ”

Gottfried Mayer gave better introduction on this subject:
“About thirty years ago it was recognized that Humpback whales are capable of elaborate songs lasting more than fifteen minutes, about five times longer than songs that humans remember to sing. Since then a number of researchers have tried to understand why they are doing this over and over again for a number of months during breeding season. During that time the songs -organized in well reproducible phrases and themes that even seem to “rhyme”- slowly evolve in a manner similar to human songs: variations are introduced, some phrases are shortened and dropped, new ones introduced etc. For the rest of the year, whales are manly busy traveling to the high latitude feeding grounds apparently forgetting about the songs. But once they are back in the breeding grounds the singers all start singing again the same songs right where they left them at the end of the previous season. Because of the temporal coincidence of breeding and singing it was speculated that females are attracted to the best singers. Careful experiments using playback of the latest songs showed, however, that instead of flocking around the singers the females rather avoid them and take off with the non-singing jocks among the whales. Are the songs perhaps some form of Humpback Whale Blues? ”