NPR logo All Tangled Up

All Tangled Up

The other day I put two words into Google Search: "whale" and "tangle" and this list popped up. (Actually, it goes on and on, but here are the first five ...)

Google
Google search of "whales tangled"
Google

We live in a crowded world. We're the crowd, and everybody else, especially the bigger animals, keep bumping into us, which is kind of sad.

But not always.

A little further down, I noticed this entry, another, more promising whale/tangle tale ...

Google search result
Google

When I clicked, I found myself inside a video adventure (which sometimes reads like an ad for whale conservation, but no matter) from Micheal Fishback, who was in the Sea of Cortez off Mexico on Valentine's Day this year. He and his friends from The Great Whale Conservancy happened onto what looked like a dead humpback whale.

Turns out, it wasn't dead.

Not at all.

YouTube

For those of you who wonder what the whale was "saying" to the folks on the boat, we at Radiolab (the science/adventure show I do with Jad Abumrad) have wondered the same thing. If you've got the time, here's a second whale tale, this one takes place off the coast of San Francisco. In it, we try to understand what whales are doing when they appear to be "thanking" human rescuers.

Article continues after sponsorship

They're doing something. But we're not sure what.