Humpback Hit Factory
Play • 21 min

There's a humpback whale song sensation that's sweeping the South Pacific. We'll learn about the burgeoning study of "whale culture"-and why these super smart cetaceans may have a lot more in common with us than we'd ever imagined. For more information on this episode visit

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Meet National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry, and see examples of his work beneath the waves.

Read Ellen Garland's original paper on whale song transmission, and listen to the humpback audio recordings that helped her piece this phenomenon together.

Here's the backstory behind those whale songs you heard at the top of the show, from Roger Payne's Songs of the Humpback Whale.

Also explore:

Sperm whales in the Caribbean form clans that have their own unique dialects-and thus culture.

Video: Off the coast of Argentina, seasoned killer whales hunt sea lion pups.

Whale song recordings off Hawaii have revealed a strange series of deep beats almost inaudible to humans.

An unusual number of humpback whales are dying along the U.S. East Coast, and scientists are racing to figure out why.

If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to to subscribe today. 

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