A Study Shows That Pilot Whales Can Mimic Killer Whale Calls

A new study has revealed that the southern-Australian long-finned pilot whale is a species that can mimic the calls of its food rival and natural predator – the killer whale. Scientists believe that pilot whales use this ability as a possible ploy to outsmart orcas. The newly published research is the first one analyzing the calls of southern hemisphere long-finned pilot whales and was done in the Great Australian Bight between 2013 and 2017.

The Study Shows That the Pilot Whale Engages In Joint Signaling Performances Called ‘Duetting’

Pilot Whales "Duetting" The research also found evidence of ‘duetting,’ which is a joint signaling performance between members of the same species and is related to coordination of behavior and social bonding. While it is common in birds and primates, it has rarely been reported in aquatic mammals. This new find suggests that the pilot whale has a sophisticated acoustic communication system that is more complex than scientists have anticipated.

The mimicry calls pilot whales make have been determined to resemble those of the Australian killer whale. It is believed that they use the ability as a clever strategy to disguise themselves from predators. Scientists also made other conclusions after their research. One of those shows that pilot whale calls from species in the southern hemisphere are very similar to those of the northern hemisphere. This raises some questions on how far the homes of the two populations extend and if its members ever communicate with each other.

The Newly Recorded Underwater Sounds Open Possibilities for Future Whale Monitoring

Long-finned Pilot Whales The new research on the calls of long-finned pilot whales was the first to be published for the entire Southern Hemisphere, with previous studies taking place in waters off Canada, the US, and Europe. Now with the new data, there are many future monitoring opportunities opening for scientists in the field. The recent research shows three unique vocalizations that have not been reported for members of the species elsewhere on the globe.

Scientists say that the pilot whales from the southern hemisphere seem capable of very complex multi-component calls that allow them to mimic killer whale calls. However, because this is this first study of its kind, it is not clear if that is common for the calls of other southern hemisphere pilot whales, and that will remain as the focus of future studies.

The Knowledge Hacking App Uptime Raised $16 Million in Funding

The new micro-learning platform Uptime recently received a serious boost of $16 million in seed funding. It presents five-minute knowledge hacks derived from courses, documentaries, and books. The idea behind the app is to let users quickly gain insight from the creative minds, authors, and instructors they trust and without spending much of their precious time. Content creators could also use the app as new means to reach their audiences with short presentations of their full work.

Uptime Will Allow Its Users to Get the Original Source of Each Knowledge Hack

Uptime App Founders According to the creators of Uptime, it presents hacks in a unique visual story format that is designed to be inspirational and should make learning effective, engaging, fun, and shareable. Apparently, the knowledge hacks of the app will also be verified by experts. The end of each Hack gives the user an option to buy the original source.

The founders of Uptime are the serial entrepreneurs Jack Bekhor and Jamie True and the former Facebook and YouTube executive, Patrick Walker. Other investors include Sir Terry Leahy, Lord David Alliance, and Federal Street SPV. Patrick Walker recently said in an interview that with people spending a lot on watching documentaries and online courses, Uptime gives a huge opportunity to these kinds of content creators while allowing its users to find their work without having to sift through an oversaturated market.

The Goal for Uptime Is to Become a One-stop Shop for Knowledge

Outdoor portrait of modern young man with mobile phone in the street. Uptime is supposed to present only the best content from the most trusted experts and sources. People will be able to choose the topics in which they have an interest, unlocking the key elements of the content in easy-to-absorb video, audio, and text. According to the app’s founders, Uptime targets people who want to learn but have a short amount of time and resources to do so. Its goal is to also offer constructive and uplifting content.

Some have criticized the app for being a parasitic aggregator that monetizes other people’s work — its founders, however, have argued that it actually helps deliver new audiences to content creators by providing a small taste of their work.