Physical constraints of cultural evolution of dialects in killer whales
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Odontocete sounds are produced by two pairs of phonic lips situated in soft nares below the blowhole; the right pair is larger and is more likely to produce clicks, while the left pair is more likely to produce whistles. This has important implications for the cultural evolution of delphinid sounds: the greater the physical constraints, the greater the probability of random convergence. In this paper the authors examine the call structure of eight killer whale populations to identify structural constraints and to determine if they are consistent among all populations. Constraints were especially pronounced in two-voiced calls. In the calls of all eight populations, the lower component of two-voiced (biphonic) calls was typically centered below 4 kHz, while the upper component was typically above that value. The lower component of two-voiced calls had a narrower frequency range than single-voiced calls in all populations. This may be because some single-voiced calls are homologous to the lower component, while others are homologous to the higher component of two-voiced calls. Physical constraints on the call structure reduce the possible variation and increase the probability of random convergence, producing similar calls in different populations.
Filatova , O A , Samarra , F I P , Barrett-Lennard , L G , Miller , P J O , Ford , J K B , Yurk , H , Matkin , C O & Hoyt , E 2016 , ' Physical constraints of cultural evolution of dialects in killer whales ' Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , vol 140 , no. 5 , pp. 3755-3764 . DOI: 10.1121/1.4967369
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Copyright © 2016, Acoustical Society of America. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4967369
Data collection was supported by a variety of organizations, including the Russian Fund for the Fundamental Research (Grant No. 15-04-05540), the Rufford Small Grants Fund, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Grant No. SFRH/BD/30303/2006), Russell Trust Award of the University of St. Andrews, the Office of Naval Research, the Icelandic Research Fund (i. Rannsóknasjóður), the National Geographic Society Science and Exploration Europe (Grant No. GEFNE65-12), Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, the Canadian Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, and the North Gulf Oceanic Society.
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