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North Atlantic right whale - Peter Flood

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Humpbacks Pass On Feeding Skills

Researchers have discovered that humpback whales in the North Atlantic have been able to pass on new feeding skills to one another.

In 1980, when one of their favourite prey, herring, became scarce, one of whales adapted their usual method of catching the fish, known as ‘bubble netting’. Switching to a new food source, the sandlance, the whale began slapping the surface of the water with its tail, which is believed to force the sandlance to leave their sea bottom home and move closer to the surface where the whale could then feed on them.

Over a period of 30 years of study, other whales also began following this new technique, now known as lobtail feeding, as they also began to feed on the sandlance, and today it is widely seen amongst humpbacks in the Gulf of Maine off Boston.

Read the full report at: Science