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50 years ago, scientists studied orcas in the wild for the first time


Added 01-10-19 08:16:02am EST - “The study of killer whales has come a long way since the capture of seven in 1968 allowed scientists to study the animals in their habitat.” - Sciencenews.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Sciencenews.org: “50 years ago, scientists studied orcas in the wild for the first time”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

In Dec. 22 SN: Our top stories of 2018, baffling star behavior, early hominids in North Africa, the oldest evidence of vanilla, wombat poop physics, Earth’s impact craters and more.

IN BLACK AND WHITE  Killer whales captured off the coast of British Columbia in 1968 offered scientists the first chance to study the animals in their natural habitat.

The 1968 orca captures in Garden Bay opened doors to studying the animals’ behavior. Research shows that Orcinus orca family groups share distinct dialects (SN: 1/12/80, p. 21). In 2018, scientists reported recording 14-year-old Wikie imitating the words hello and one, two, three, highlighting the likely role that imitation plays in how killer whales learn dialects (SN: 3/3/18, p. 5). As for the Garden Bay orcas, they were far from the last killer whales captured. From 1961 to 2018, at least 166 orcas were caught in the wild. Another 34 bred in captivity are used for research or exhibition, according to the nonprofit group Whale and Dolphin Conservation, based in Chippenham, England.

S. Milius. A killer whale gives a raspberry and says ‘hello.’ Science News. Vol. 193, March 3, 2018, p. 5.

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