Page 22 - The Whales in Cape Breton's Waters
ISSUE : Issue 16
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/6/1
forth, we do not perceive the whales mak? ing small, subtle gestures to one another; but there has been considerable observa? tion of what might be called whole body communication. The Sperm Whale breaches, its entire huge body leaving the water and then slapping down on the surface, sending out a signal of alarm • and imme? diately other Sperm Whales will dive. ./Varshall writes: "In courtship or love- making... dolphins emphasize the differ? ence between everyday life and the spe- cialness of being courtly by changing the body posture. In everyday life, the body is relatively straight and horizon? tal; in courtship, the dolphin bends his body at all points possible, forming an S-curve, a strong signal of something special happening. But vihen a dolphin is angry, she or he will lower the head, showing teeth and slanting the body up? wards, 'vhen yielding, she or he will slant the body dovmwards and keep the mouth closed. Besides changing posture, dolphins can communicate by changing the speed and direction of their swimming pattern." Scaimmon felt the love-making activities of the Humpback i/vhale gave rise to tales of the swordfish and the thrasher: "t'ien lying side by side of each other, the me- gapteras frequently administer alternate blows with their long fins, which love- pats may, on a still day, be heard for miles. They also rub each other with these same huge flexible arms, rolling occasion? ally from side to side...." Of the mating and other subtle relation? ships of the wild, free whale, as well as considerable basic information, we still know very little, because until recently most of our information has come from sci? entists crawling over dead whales being carved up around them as they measured and weighed parts of whales on the decks of whaling vessels. Peter Beamish tells us that this situation is changing--me? thods and monies are gradually being turned to the study of the whale in its own world • but he also emphasizes that we have a long way to go. He told us that our readers could make a real contribution in local information. "It?s fair to say we need information on all Cape Breton whales Fin Whale surfacing just prior to final, long dive, in Gulf of St. Lawrence (Beam? ish). Pilot vhales "loafing around." Cabot Strait, off Cape Breton (photo Mitchell)' A Neighborhood Store in a Beautiful Village Neil's Harbour CO-OP RAcJ'S GIFT SHOr and Canteen facing ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MUSEUM, BADDECK, N. S. A unique selection of Gifts and Handcrafts Souvenirs of Baddeck '#W Nova Scotia Cape Breton 'fflMS' ''ocal and Scottish & Films t2*1 i'J Tartan and 36 Modern Units Swimming Pool Air Conditioning Tour Buses Welcome Seal Island Motel and Dining Room (Licensed) Seafood our specialty 674-2418 Located between Baddeck and Sydney Overlooking the Bras d'Or Lakes Country Living at the Seal Island Bridge
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