Re: Orca "two cultures" support?

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 08 Oct 1997 18:33:38 -0400

Michael M. Butler wrote:
> I am looking for substantiation of something I've heard that may turn out
> to be a "hundred monkeys" fabrication. On the other hand, if true, I think
> it may have a bearing on my research into history and moral philosophy.
> Details available after I've done more homework...
> The story goes that there are two cultures of killer whale, genetically
> indistinguishable (i.e., one species) but with no cross-breeding evident:
> the pelagic, ocean-roaming, husky-eating, kayak-tipping "wolf pack" variety
> and the Puget-Sound-local, salmon-eating, laid-back "Shamu" variety.
> Allegedly, they speak two *different "languages"*, too.
> Can anyone here tell me how controversial this notion is among ethologists
> and marine biologists?
> Is it generally accepted? Is it thoroughly discredited? Who espoused it?;
> who shot it full of holes?
> Is it just an "urban legend"? I crave facts and cites. Tomorrow I'll start
> digging in earnest--but tonight, I thought I'd cast my question to this
> eclectic bunch...

I spent six years in Seattle, and spent a good amount of time all over
Puget Sound. Orcas do not spend much time inside the Sound itself. THey
typically only venture in when the salmon are running(a couple months in
the late summer), to chase schools into small bays or entrapping
underwater features. I do know that each pod develops its own calls and
dialects, but there is still undestanding of some sort between pods, as
sound carries a long ways underwater, and they have to know where other
pods are to give each ohter wide berth. There is a species of dolphin
that has a similar color scheme as orcas, but is smaller. THis may be
the source of the confusion.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
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