Elin Kelsey on Cultures of the Deep

Watchinggiants Beneath the ocean surface is a diverse cetacean world. Elin Kelsey, author of Watching Giants, is fascinated by the hidden world of whales and dolphins, and her June 27 interview on CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks offers a glimpse into the lives of these social yet enigmatic
creatures.

What is it like to be a sperm whale or a bottlenose dolphin? Kelsey describes remarkably diverse matriarchal societies in which females live into their 70s and 80s and males into their 50s, and in which wisdom, memory, and creativity seem to play an important role. Whales and dolphins talk to each other, form long-term relationships, and cooperate. They are also innovators: humpback whales catch food in “bubble nets”, and bottlenose dolphins use sea sponges as fishing tools and pass skills down through the generations, suggesting a deeper cultural system that we are just beginning to understand.

Listen to Elin Kelsey’s interview on CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks website.