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dc.contributor.authorWhitehead, Hal
dc.contributor.authorSmith, Tim D
dc.contributor.authorRendell, Luke
dc.identifier.citationWhitehead , H , Smith , T D & Rendell , L 2021 , ' Adaptation of sperm whales to open-boat whalers : rapid social learning on a large scale? ' , Biology Letters , vol. 17 , no. 3 , 20210030 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 273398458
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 19b1f497-3c3c-44eb-b987-b637cc9c07e1
dc.identifier.otherPubMed: 33726561
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-1121-9142/work/90952334
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85103143055
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000629928800001
dc.description.abstractAnimals can mitigate human threats, but how do they do this, and how fast can they adapt? Hunting sperm whales was a major nineteenth century industry. Analysis of data from digitized logbooks of American whalers in the North Pacific found that the rate at which whalers succeeded in harpooning ('striking') sighted whales fell by about 58% over the first few years of exploitation in a region. This decline cannot be explained by the earliest whalers being more competent, as their strike rates outside the North Pacific, where whaling had a longer history, were not elevated. The initial killing of particularly vulnerable individuals would not have produced the observed rapid decline in strike rate. It appears that whales swiftly learned effective defensive behaviour. Sperm whales live in kin-based social units. Our models show that social learning, in which naive social units, when confronted by whalers, learned defensive measures from grouped social units with experience, could lead to the documented rapid decline in strike rate. This rapid, large-scale adoption of new behaviour enlarges our concept of the spatio-temporal dynamics of non-human culture.
dc.relation.ispartofBiology Lettersen
dc.rightsCopyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at w
dc.subjectSocial learningen
dc.subjectSperm whaleen
dc.subjectDefensive measuresen
dc.subjectGC Oceanographyen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleAdaptation of sperm whales to open-boat whalers : rapid social learning on a large scale?en
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Centre for Biological Diversityen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Sea Mammal Research Uniten
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Bioacoustics groupen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotlanden
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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