The 52-HERTZ WHALE is an individual whale of unidentified species,
which calls at the very unusual frequency of 52 Hz . This pitch is a
much higher frequency than that of the other whale species with
migration patterns most closely resembling this whale's – the blue
whale (10–39 Hz) or fin whale (20 Hz). It has been detected
regularly in many locations since the late 1980s and appears to be the
only individual emitting a whale call at this frequency. It has been
described as the "world's loneliest whale".
* 1 Characteristics
* 2 History
* 3 Documentary
* 4 Short film
* 5 Music
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 Further reading
* 9 External links
52-hertz whale The signal was recorded in the northeast
Pacific. It has been sped up ten times, raising the pitch to 520 Hz.
Problems playing this file? See media help .
The sonic signature is that of a whale, albeit at a unique frequency.
At 52 hertz, it is just higher than the lowest note on a tuba . The
call patterns resemble neither blue nor fin whales , being much higher
in frequency, shorter, and more frequent. Blue whales usually
vocalize at 10–39 Hz, fin whales at 20 Hz. The 52-hertz calls of
this whale are highly variable in their pattern of repetition,
duration, and sequence, although they are easily identifiable due to
their frequency and characteristic clustering. The calls have
deepened slightly to around 49 hertz since 1992, suggesting the whale
has grown or matured.
The track of the
52-hertz whale is unrelated to the presence or
movement of other whale species. Its movements have been somewhat
similar to that of blue whales, but its timing has been more like that
of fin whales. It is detected in the
Pacific Ocean every year
beginning in August–December, and moves out of range of the
hydrophones in January–February. It travels as far north as the
Kodiak Islands , and as far south as the California
coast, swimming between 30 and 70 km each day. Its recorded distance
traveled per season has ranged from a low of 708 km to a high of
11,062 km in 2002–03.
Scientists at the
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have been
unable to identify the species of the whale. They speculate that it
could be malformed , or possibly a blue whale/fin whale hybrid . The
research team has been contacted by deaf people who believe the whale
may be deaf.
Whatever biological cause underlies its unusually high frequency
voice does not seem to be detrimental to its survival. The fact that
the whale has survived and apparently matured indicates it is probably
healthy. Still, its unique call is the only one of its kind detected
anywhere and there is only one such source per season. Because of
this, the animal has been called the loneliest whale in the world.
52-hertz whale was discovered by a team from the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institution . Its call was first detected in 1989, then
again in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, following the end of the
Cold War ,
the U.S. Navy partially declassified the recordings and technical
specifications of its
SOSUS anti-submarine hydrophone arrays, and made
SOSUS available for oceanographic research. As of 2014, the whale
had been detected every year since. Research by scientists at Woods
Hole has been supported by the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers , the U.S.
Department of Defense , and the
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Marine Fisheries Service , in
addition to the U.S. Navy.
A feature-length documentary entitled 52: The Search for the
Whale is in production, shot by Joshua Zeman, the director
of Cropsey , and produced by
Adrian Grenier . Funded through a
Kickstarter campaign, the film is due for release sometime in 2017.
The Loneliest, a short mockumentary film about two women searching
for the loneliest whale, was made in April 2014 by Lilian Mehrel, with
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation .
Montreal-based saxophone player and composer
Colin Stetson 's 2013
album New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light included a song
entitled "Part of Me Apart From You". Though not explicitly written
about the 52-hertz whale, when first performing the song live, he
remarked on at least several occasions that the story of the
"loneliest whale" resonated deeply with his composition. "This whale
is alone in a large body of water, swimming, singing its song, calling
for a likeness it will never find," he said by way of introducing the
song at a performance at Toronto's Great Hall on 19 May 2013. "When I
play this song, I can't help but think about this whale, who right at
this very minute is singing alone."
South Korean hip-hop group BTS 's 2015 album The Most Beautiful
Moment in Life, Part 2 's fourth track, "Whalien 52", explicitly uses
52-hertz whale as a metaphor for the alienation from others often
felt by adolescents.
List of unexplained sounds
List of famous whales
* ^ A B C Copley, John (10 December 2004). "Lonely whale\'s song
remains a mystery". New Scientist. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
* ^ A B "Blue Whale". The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Archived from
the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-13.
* ^ "Maybe the World\'s Loneliest
Whale Isn\'t So Isolated, After
All Smart News Smithsonian". Smithsonianmag.com. 2015-04-15. doi
:10.1016/j.dsr.2004.08.006 . Retrieved 2015-10-31.
* ^ A B C D E Revkin, Andrew C. (December 21, 2004). "Song of the
Sea, a Cappella and Unanswered". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
* ^ A B C Nelson, Bryan (2012-05-20). "52 Hertz: The Loneliest
Whale in the World". Discovery.com. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
* ^ A B C Watkins, William A.; George, Joseph E.; Daher, Mary Ann;
Mullin, Kristina; Martin, Darel L.; Haga, Scott H.; DiMarzio, Nancy A.
February 2000. "
Whale call data for the North Pacific: November 1995
through July 1999 occurrence of calling whales and source locations
SOSUS and other acoustic systems". Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution. Technical report. WHOI-00-02.
* ^ A B C D Lippsett, Lonny (5 April 2005). "A Lone Voice Crying in
the Watery Wilderness (with a graphic of tracking during twelve year
period)". Oceanus. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 17
* ^ Willingham, Emily (2011-03-31). "52-
Hertz song of world\'s
loneliest whale". EarthSky. Retrieved 2012-09-23.
* ^ Anderson, Ben (2011-01-05). "\'World\'s loneliest whale\' pays
visit to Alaska". Alaska Dispatch. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
* ^ Mulvaney, Kieran (26 January 2017). "The loneliest whale in the
world?". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
* ^ http://52thesearch.com/
* ^ "New York Times".
* ^ "The Loneliest".
* ^ "Colin Stetson". exclaim.ca. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
* ^ Benjamin, Jeff. "BTS Succeeds With Mixed Styles, Emotions on
\'Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2\'". Billboard. Retrieved 9
* Watkins, W. A., M. A. Daher, G. M. Reppucci, J. E. George, D. L.
Martin, N. A. DiMarzio, and D. P. Gannon. 2000. "Seasonality and
distribution of whale calls in the North Pacific". Oceanography
* Watkins, W. A., M. A. Daher, J. E. George, and D. Rodriguez. 2004.
"Twelve years of tracking 52-Hz whale calls from a unique source in
the North Pacific". Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research