Whales are one of the most interesting creatures there are. Their majestic size, gentle demeanour and mysterious character are just a few of the reasons they are subject of legendary tales and heartwarming stories.
Whales have fascinated researchers for years, as they have piqued the interest of the general public for just as long. This curiosity about these gentle giants is why people flock to whale watching in Dunsborough, as – All Sea Charters can attest to.
Aside from all that has held our interest, some studies even reveal that whales also have high IQs.
The Interesting Revelation
Based on a study by Estel Van der Gucht and Patrick Hof of the Department of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and published in The Anatomical Record, the cortexes of humpback whales have spindle neurones. What’s so special about this type of neurones? Spidle neurones are the same kind of cell that was originally discovered only in great apes, humans and other cetaceans, such as dolphins.
The Mind-Boggling Realisation
Gucht and Hof revealed that the data they gathered could clarify the behaviours of whales; behaviour which includes tool usage, cultural transmission, intricate communication, alliance forming and cooperation. They do admit that they are still unsure about the primary purpose of spindle neurones. They think that it might be related to functions of cognition, such as learning and identifying the surroundings.
These findings could also mean that these species are at risk of developing brain disorders like schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer’s disease. They add that the cerebral cortexes of the humpback whales had structures that were island-like. They assume that it is the work of evolution to encourage efficient and fast communication between neurones.
The findings of the researchers are still in the early stages. In time, they will be able to determine if whales are indeed as smart, if not smarter, than human beings.