Starting in the late 2000s, Colleen Reichmuth and Ole Larsen have visited the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., several times to hear the walrus chime. A male Pacific walrus named Sivuqaq is approaching sexual maturity. This means that he may soon be spewing the male walrus’ unique food during the mating season.
Dr. Reichmuth, a research scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was a short drive to see Sivuqaq. Traveling far from Denmark
Dr. Reichmuth and Dr. Larsen came especially to hear Sivuqaq voice the mating sounds of male walruses: knocks, metal-like gongs and piercing whistles, but Sivuqaq stole the screen during an appearance on “50 First Dates” with Adam. Sandler and Drew Barrymore did not cooperate. Some days, he slapped thousands of fins in the face. times while constantly under water
“At first it was distracting,” said Dr Reichmuth. She and Dr Sen came to gong and knock, not applaud, but they realized that constant applause was worth studying. And even if it takes many years They published their observations and record of applauding behavior Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science for Researchers Knowledge. There is no documented record of wild walruses being caught with similar applause.
Dr. Reichmuth first met Sivuqaq when he was a puppy. The walrus was taken to Six Flags in 1994 when he recovered from the Alaskan subsistence program. He shares the name Yupik for what is now Gambell, Alaska. In captivity, Sivuqaq’s life is more widely documented than the life of a walrus in the wild. He died at age 21 in 2015, a few years after this research was completed.
Dr. Reichmuth decided to study walruses after she heard records of male walruses in the wild. The creature’s voice sounded like it came from the infamous “Stomp” off-Broadway show. “It’s like a racket at a construction site,” she said. Or sometimes someone will drop a large sheet of metal from the building.”
As Sivuqaq grew older, Dr. Reichmuth collaborated with Dr. Larsen to measure the sound production of walruses during the raceway. This is when male walruses feel the desire to mate. Scientists still don’t know exactly how walruses make knocking and gong sounds. One hypothesis is that the knock comes from within the walrus’ body. And the gongs may be caused by the alveoli of the male walrus, Dr. Reichmut said.
Researchers mounted hydrophones in Sivuqaq’s tank and filmed the walrus clapping with high-speed black-and-white video cameras. The video shows the walrus clapping asymmetrically. Dr. Reichmuth is like Catcher’s mitten; By fishing one fin to move like a blade in the water. Walrus reduces resistance and can attack at a much higher speed. When researchers slow down the frame They could see a bright mottle that formed between the dorsal clapping fins: the cavitation bubbles. which creates noise when you snap your knuckles
“Walruses can clap their hands underwater so hard that the water between their fins turns into a cloud of bubbles. It then collapses on its own to make a very loud sound,” said David Hocking, senior curator of vertebrate zoology at the Tasmanian Museum and Art. The gallery, who was not involved in the research, wrote in an email Dr. Hocking noted similar clapping behavior in wild gray seals during the mating season. and hypothesized that this was a demonstration of the strength and suitability of potential opponents and mates.
The authors of the new study believe that the Sivuqaq applause has a similar function. Because walruses start clapping as he approaches sexual maturity. And the behavior is often accompanied by visible erections. “I think it’s hard for these animals to suppress,” said Dr Reichmuth, referring to Sivuqaq’s cacophony drive to mate.
Sivuqaq claps in an unshakable rhythm: 1.2 seconds between clapping. which was the same rhythm as the knock he released. And the applause was loud. It was noted that a human stood four inches away from the glass walls of his tank, but Sivuqaq’s voice never reached the full complexity of wild walrus mating displays. This could consist of a sequence of long-patterned pulses of different lengths and separated by a bell-like sound, according to a 2003 study. In the eyes of Dr. Reichmuth, captive walruses produce music components but cannot. able to produce complex music If you deny the ability to listen and learn from the sounds of other adult walruses.
with a single walrus dataset It’s hard to know if the wild walruses applauded or not. “Is this what a man does? Is it a new way to create similar behaviors?” asked Eduardo J. Fernandez, an animal welfare scientist at the University of Adelaide. Australia which was not involved in this research. “For this walrus It seems to be related to the mating show,” he said.
Dr. Reichmuth and Dr. Larsen are working on a paper that analyzes the biological mechanisms behind other familiar mating sounds of Sivuqaq, which they originally came to Six Flags to study.