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Monday, June 13, 2011

Whales or Wales?

The English language is fascinating, isn’t it? Spelling words in English can be a challenge, can’t it? Whales or Wales?

Whales with an H and H is for Humpback of course.

Humpback whales visit Hervey Bay every year between July and November. They arrive about mid July and the last of the migration depart at the end of October or sometimes it is early November before they head off around Rooney’s to continue their way down the east coast of Australia.

H is also for human. Did you know that we humans have a lot in common with the humpback whale. We are both mammals, we breath air, give birth to live young. We also love to vocalize to a large audience when given an opportunity. Just ask the producers of Australia’s got Talent.

Humans have a nose with two nostrils through which they breath. Humpbacks have a nose called a rostrum and being a Baleen whale they have two holes through which they inhale and exhale air. Toothed whales only have one hole through which they breath.

The female humpback gestation period is eleven and a half months. That’s only two and a half months longer than us. There is a slight difference in average birth weight though with a humpback weighing in at 4000 pounds and our bonny bubs averaging about seven and a half pounds.

The songs of the humpback whale are the most complex of the animal kingdom and can last up to 30 minutes. Now, as for showing off and singing with great gusto, in the world of the humpback, it is only the male that sings. It could be related to mating, so I guess it is like our serenade!

So while a H may make the world of difference in spelling there are lots of similarities between the giants of the deep and us mere two legged, serenading humans.

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