The loneliest whale in the world

Imagine wandering around the world talking and talking, calling and calling, singing, screaming, whispering… and never getting a response. Never even crossing paths with anyone vaguely similar to you. (Okay, emo kids, it may FEEL that way to you at times, but it simply isn’t true.)

Deep in the ocean, lives a whale with this tragic fate.

Her name is 52 Hertz, she is an unknown species of baleen whale, sings a melancholy song no other whale will answer and travels the ocean alone. As in completely alone – no family to enjoy a meal with now and then, no mate to hook up with every few years, not even one fellow Cetacean friend.

According to a New York Times article from 2004 :

The animal is called the 52 hertz whale because it makes a distinctive stream of sounds at around that basso profundo frequency, just above the lowest note on a tuba. [Other baleen whales sing at a frequency of between 15 and 25 Hertz]

 

Its sonic signature is clearly that of a whale, but nothing like the normal voice of the giant blue or the next biggest species, the fin, or any other whale for that matter, said Mary Ann Daher, a marine biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod.

 

She was first discovered by the US Navy in 1992, when they picked up her sad solo on their classified array of hydrophones used to monitor enemy submarines. Soon after they discovered that this poor creature was way off track – travelling a route that no other whales follow.

Since then, she’s caught the attention of various marine biologists and captured the imagination of cryptozoologists and animal lovers alike. But so far no one’s been able to figure out for sure why she is what she is.

The cryptozoologist Oll Lewis speculates that the lonely whale might be “a deformed hybrid between two different species of whale,” or even “the last surviving member of an unknown species.”

You can listen to 52 Hertz’s unanswered song here and the songs of other whales here.

Now, check out the Sometimes Zoo where I first came across this sad, but strangely magical story.