What is it about?
In social situations, sperm whales communicate using Morse code-like patterns of clicks, called codas. Different sperm whale cultural groups have different coda dialects. We show evidence that certain codas, called identity codas, act as symbolic markers of sperm whale cultural group identity, a phenomenon often thought to be restricted to humans.
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Why is it important?
Our findings demonstrate how culture can structure and fortify segmentation of animal populations and reveal similarities between human and nonhuman cultures.
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This page is a summary of: Evidence from sperm whale clans of symbolic marking in non-human cultures, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2201692119.
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