Scientists make first recording of rare whale song
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Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have made the first recording of one of the planet's rarest whales, according to NBC Washington.

The marine biologists recorded patterns of calls from male North Pacific right whales, the first time any right whale songs have been recorded, NOAA Fisheries marine biologist Jessica Crance told NBC.

Over eight years, researchers traced four distinct songs at five locations in the Bering Sea off Alaska's coast, Crance said. The research began in 2010, when NOAA Fisheries researchers said they heard strange sound patterns they could not identify, NBC reported.

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The researchers reviewed long-term data from recorders for seven years before being able to determine the song was coming from a right whale.

In 2017, the team heard a whale song in real time from the acoustic recorders on buoys. They were able to confirm that the sound was coming from the rare species while they tracked the animals in the water.

"It was great to finally get the confirmation when we were out at sea that yes, it is a right whale, and it's a male that's singing," Crance told NBC.

The team said the discovery has led them to more questions about the species as a whole, including whether the North Pacific right whales are unique or if all right whales sing.

"It could be that there are so few of them left, they feel the need to call more frequently or sing," Crance said. "This is entirely speculation, but perhaps they're copying humpbacks, a little bit. Our right whales are frequently seen associating with humpbacks."  

Only an estimated 30 of the animals remain. The whales remain buoyant after they are killed, making them a target for whalers.