A new study surfacing from University of Queensland in Australia reveals that Humpback whales learn songs in segments and even hold the capacity to remix them mirroring the ways in which humans acquire language skills.
According to Michael Noad, a professor at University, "All the males in a population sing the same complex song, but the pattern of song changes with time, sometimes quite rapidly, across the population".
Researchers see this process of learning news songs as 'social learning', where individual animal tend to learn behaviours from each other, rather than passing them on from one generation to another genetically.
"The rate of change though shows that they are constantly learning and updating their songs rapidly." Noad said.
The team found that these rare 'hybrid' songs, the themes of the songs, either old or new, were intact, showing that the whales probably learn songs theme-by-theme like the verse of a human song.
"This provides some evidence for how animals rapidly learn large, complex displays and may have relevance for understanding how human language, the most outstanding example of social learning, evolved", Noad added.