Are Whales Smart?

Lots of animals are smart. We know that some animals seem to be smarter than others. There are types of birds that can talk and dogs that learn to do amazing tricks. Dolphins and seals are really intelligent also. All these animals can be taught to do things by humans. That makes us think they must be really smart. What about whales, though? Are they smart even though it is too difficult for us to get close and teach them anything?

So, are whales smart? The answer is yes! Here are five reasons why whales are super smart!

1. Whales can sing

Different whales make different types of sound to communicate to one another. Some make clicking sounds and others, such as humpback whales, seem to sing tunes that are similar to songs made by humans. Each type of sound means something different and they—amazingly!—understand each other that way.

2. Whales have really big brains

This might not necessarily mean they are really smart, but whales have large brains. In fact, the sperm whale has the largest brain of all living animals. A whale’s brain also has cells called spindle cells, which have only been found in humans, elephants and apes—all very clever animals.

3. Whales communicate really well through their body language

Whales are fantastic at communicating to each other through various displays using their body. One of the most majestic displays is breaching. This is when they lift nearly their entire body out of the water and then bring it back down, whacking their tail and body on the surface of the water, leaving a big splash! This is said to be a sign of play, or communicating to other whales that there is danger.

4. Whales are good at working in groups

Some whales are really good at working in groups and using their social skills. Killer whales are often found together, and work in groups to capture their prey. Even when they aren’t hunting, they can still be seen functioning like a well-organised group.

5. Whales can show emotion

Like humans, whales are playful. This can often be seen when they breach for a group of humans who are whale watching. Are whales smart enough to perform on cue? Well, it can look like they are showing off! They can also often be seen touching and nurturing their babies or a mate in a gentle way.

So, whales are smarter than you think! If you, or your class, want to see whales in action, Brisbane Whale Watching has some excellent whale watching tours. Call us today!

Kerry Lopez

Captain of the Eye Spy
15 September 2015