Since We Last Spoke: Idiosyncratic Whale Songs

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(Illustration: Mark McGinnis)

(Illustration: Mark McGinnis)

The anthropologist Joe Henrich, profiled by Ethan Watters in “We Aren’t the World” (March/April 2013), showed how cultural differences shape cognitive differences in people. A new book, The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, by the biologists Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell, calls out researchers like Henrich for treating culture as uniquely human. Their own decades of research indicates social learning among animals. For example, they note, whale pods in different parts of the world have developed regional singing styles.

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