Whale song

Do whales sing using air or water? If air, why doesn’t it just bubble away? When I’ve tried to talk underwater it sounds like one of the adults on Peanuts. If water, do they draw it into their lungs? Dolphins make noises too. Do any non air breathing aquatics make vocalizations?


It does just bubble away, but by the time it exits the animal it has already passed over the larynx, and thus made all the noise it was going to.

I’m not sure I understand. A person speaking underwater sounds indistinct, but still intelligible.

The reason humans sound indistinct underwater is because we evolved to be heard on land. We use a lot of high pitched sounds that don’t travel at all well underwater, and our ears aren’t designed to work when filled with water.

In contrasts whales use mostly low pitched sounds and they have ears designed to work while full of water.

Yep, a lot of fish make noises by vibrating the swim bladder in some manner. A lot of other sea life makes noises by rubbing various body parts together, much as crickets do on land.