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Killer whales wreck boat in latest attack off Spain

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Posted on Friday, May 26th 2023 by TheAlchemist

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/killer-whales-wreck-boa...

250 comments

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@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by fileeditview

The Swarm

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by mmwelt | Parent

In case anyone's wondering, this is a TV series:

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0808491

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by throwbadubadu | Parent

Actually a book: https://www.amazon.de/Swarm-Novel-Deep-Frank-Sch%C3%A4tzing/...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by throwbadubadu | Parent

Hmm, so many similar interpretations, and I wonder why does nobody mention that this is exactly the plot start of that book, and then I find this one downvoted? Funny:) Or what am I missing?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by _Microft | Parent

They are referring to this book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Swarm_(Sch%C3%A4tzing_novel)


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by newqer

All fun and games until a 4000Kg Orca is joining the game.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by TheOtherHobbes | Parent

If they weren't 4 tonne sea-dwelling highly social apex predators which terrify sharks they'd probably make quite good pets.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by belter

Many past threads but these two seem the ones with most comments

"Orcas are breaking rudders off boats in Europe" - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32593799

"Orcas have learned how to drown great white sharks" - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15723393

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by speed_spread | Parent

Reminds me of this Onion classic:

"Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumb" - https://www.theonion.com/dolphins-evolve-opposable-thumbs-18...


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pkphilip

Reminds me of the Slashdot meme before the term meme even came into existence - Sharks with lasers!

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by scrame | Parent

"meme" was coined by Richard Dawkins in the 70s and sharks with lasers is a mid-90s joke from austin powers.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by june_twenty | Parent

'internet memes' as we know them today were not around in the 80s or 90s

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by sokoloff | Parent

Dancing baby and "All your base are belong to us" are definitely from the 90s.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Sharlin | Parent

It's very appropriate that the concept of "meme" itself is an example of memetic drift.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by chrisco255 | Parent

We had memes in the 90s. But you had to use Photoshop like a grownup not some cheap meme generator site. It only cost $1200 for a license, and most of us were broke kids (not actual grownups) so you had to join a WAREZ chat room on AOL and beg for a crack, then you'd spend a week downloading it on your 28k modem. Then you'd skillfully construct a meme from scratch based on some images you collected off personal home pages on Geocities because Google image search didn't even exist back then.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by m463 | Parent

Before that you had to create a chain letter, with a strongly worded section to forward the letter to 10 friends, and detailing the penalties for breaking the chain.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by addaon | Parent

Other replies have given examples of "current-style" memes from the 90s. The term itself was also in popular use, as evidenced in e.g. the website memepool.com.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dkjaudyeqooe | Parent

They most definitely were, just text based. Pictures took too long to download and were reserved for important things like porn.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dredmorbius | Parent

Usenet had what were effectively memes. "Make Money Fast" comes to mind.

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make_Money_Fast>

Kibo: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Parry>

And elephant jokes.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by scrame | Parent

'internet memees' aren't what you're describing.

Do you mean "i can haz cheezburger"

or rage comics,

or that thing from the walking dead of the older dude yelling at the kid? or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VrCCpaEoxI

Or natalie portman hot grits.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by scrame | Parent

'internet memees' aren't what you're describing.

Do you mean "i can haz cheezburger" or rage comics, or that thing from the walking dead of the older dude yelling at the kid? or "yo quiero taco bell?" or "YEEeeaaahhhh baby"

Or "i just poured hot grits down my pants"

?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ChatGTP

Is there any chance Orcas might become self-aware and begin to interrupt shipping and eventually take over?

Edit: It was a silly joke...I was being ironic. I believe garden worms are self-ware.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by chasd00 | Parent

If they interfere with commerce they'll be killed.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ben_w | Parent

You say that, but all they need is to wear a messy blonde wig and the British will ask one to be Prime Minister, no matter how much they interfere with trade.

And it would almost certainly still be more popular than any of the human attempts.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by rvense | Parent

There is absolutely no question that they are already self-aware.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by helsinkiandrew

What's alarming is that younger orcas are learning how to do it:

>Two days earlier, a pod of six orcas assailed another sailboat navigating the strait. Greg Blackburn, who was aboard the vessel, looked on as a mother orca appeared to teach her calf how to charge into the rudder. "It was definitely some form of education, teaching going on,"

https://www.livescience.com/animals/orcas/orcas-have-sunk-3-...

>Experts suspect that a female orca they call White Gladis suffered a "critical moment of agony" -- a collision with a boat or entrapment during illegal fishing -- that flipped a behavioral switch. "That traumatized orca is the one that started this behavior of physical contact with the boat,"

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by paradoxyl | Parent

Alarming? There's 7,000,000,000 humans and only 50,000 orcas left. Who's in the wrong here?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by potatototoo99 | Parent

The orcas. Humans are the apex predator, the orcas better clean their act before we lose our patience.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by slily | Parent

What's with the anti-human attitude? Sounds like a lot of the commenters here would rather kill 1000 humans (but of course not you or your family or your friends, maybe just some Spanish fishermen?) than the same number of orcas.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by markhahn | Parent

you've got it backwards: Earth is not a zero-sum game.

"we'd be better off with fewer than 8G people" is not advocating murder, either.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by notmypenguin | Parent

What's with the human centric attitude? Do we own this planet or are we one mammal species on it currently driving the other species towards mass extinction?

 

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by soulofmischief | Parent

If the trolley problem you're presenting is 1000 orcas or 1000 humans, I'd say it's a no-brainer that the orcas should be preserved.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Taywee | Parent

8 billion humans as of last November.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by stjohnswarts | Parent

It's alarming for the whales, I'm afraid humans will kill them out of spite if the attacks increase.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by notmypenguin | Parent

What's happening is that there's a small sailing craft prohibition on a part of the Galician coast

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bratbag | Parent

Alarming for Orcas.

Species that go out of their way to get in our way usually died off before modern times.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by JumpCrisscross | Parent

Have we tried positive intervention? I know it's against marine biologists' code of ethics. But if they're intelligent enough to mount this response, they might be intelligent enough to...erm...reason with? Recondition?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bobbylarrybobby | Parent

We do not negotiate with terrorists!

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by sacnoradhq | Parent

We could bribe them with locations that contain more fish and fewer people.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by oblak | Parent

Maybe they don't appreciate the over-fishing and attacking these boats is all they can realistically do. Would anything even change if they were to write a formal letter to the "apex predator"?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by marcellus23 | Parent

>if they're intelligent enough to mount this response

The idea that this is some sort of planned, coordinated response to overfishing has not been even remotely proven, and is not backed by any researchers. It's just the fanciful thinking of some imaginative HNers. The idea is patently absurd. The boats they're attacking are not even fishing boats.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by wholinator2 | Parent

What's your threshold to acknowledge this as intentional, intelligent behavior

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by marcellus23 | Parent

How about when an actual marine biologist starts thinking so, instead of a computer programmer?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by JumpCrisscross | Parent

>idea that this is some sort of planned, coordinated response to overfishing

Never implied as much. Animal is pissed off at a pattern. Showing them that pattern isn't dangerous by e.g. being nice to them from boats was the idea.

 

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by marcellus23 | Parent

What pattern is that?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by manojlds

Good for them, I guess?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by piatra | Parent

How long until it's open season on hunting them.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by areoform | Parent

   > How long until it's open season on hunting them.
In 2011, the subgroup had 39 members. Yes, let's go hunt a sentient, intelligent species trying to protect themselves and their young to extinction; forever losing their intelligence and culture.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27770983/

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by LgWoodenBadger | Parent

I don't know if GP was serious, but that's the typical human (or maybe just US) response to things like shark-attacks: kill them all.

It's awful, but I wouldn't be surprised. Even in 2023 humans are generally awful.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by highstep | Parent

don't worry, we'll be gone soon and some sort of life on earth will go on

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AHOHA | Parent

I remember seeing a video of a mother whale thanking sailors by bringing some food after they freed her kid from a fishing net. I believe if we actually start killing those intelligent creatures, we will severely off balance the ocean!

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pvaldes | Parent

We don't want to escalate a global war with orcas. Just give the seabernard its stupid sardine.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

This group is critically endangered and is protected by law, as they should be.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by francisofascii | Parent

Agreed, but if an Orca is trying to sink your boat, it would be hard sell to say you can't fight back.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

It's tough. Humans initiated the invasive and agressive behavior. Now that orcas have retailiated, for whatever reason, it isn't right for humans to act innocent and blameless and to want to retaliate back.

Deterrence should be the only goal. Anything more should be met with harsh penalties.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by areoform

Orcas are genuinely amazing creatures. We have observed evidence for culture within them, and witnessed them engage in social learning behavior identical to humans. So much so that it's important to consider their culture when we consider conservation w.r.t. orcas, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S00063...

One of my favorite examples is that, in the 1980s, an orca started wearing a dead salmon on her nose. Others soon followed. They copied the pioneer until everyone was doing it. They then subsequently got bored, abandoned the trend & forgot about it.

Alder or A99 rediscovered the trend in 2019 and it became cool to balance salmon on your nose again, https://www.instagram.com/p/CZkhP0fvhXn/

In this case, it's very likely that someone hurt one of them and they're now trying to make the world safer for themselves. They've figured out a way to deal with the entity they see as a threat and they've spread that knowledge.

It's all very human.

I suspect that it might actually be possible to try diplomacy in this case. I may be wrong, but I suspect that they could be reasoned with. This moment in time could lead to a breakthrough in inter-species communication.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ben_w | Parent

I love ideas like that, but I'd expect us to learn North Sentinelese from passive remote drone observations before we can manage a different species.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by blinding-streak | Parent

Disagree. Animal training and behavior is a vast field of research humans have studied for hundreds of years. We're not starting from scratch. And we already interact with orcas constantly, based on these reports. It would be straightforward to experiment.

Interacting in any way with the North Sentinel folks is forbidden.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by 2000UltraDeluxe | Parent

I mean, apart from a few kidnapped ones in the 1800's, few Sentinelese have ever interacted with the rest of us.

Human-Orca contact, on the other hand, is relatively common.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by RajT88 | Parent

And the main way the Sentinelese prefer to interact with the rest of the world is with hails of arrows.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ben_w | Parent

Quite possibly for the same reason as the orcas...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AlecSchueler | Parent

So why would we expect to learn to communicate with the Sentinelese first, rather than the species we're already in contact with?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

Contact is not the same as communication and understanding of language, which is what the original commenter was referring to.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AlecSchueler | Parent

Yes, but we already communicate with orcas, and with the Sentinelese we can't communicate with them because we can't contact them. Communication and understanding of language are two different things. I have great communication with my dog, both ways.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

>but we already communicate with orcas

Not really. And again, the person was referring to Sentinelese the language and not the people and thus was referring to orcas' languages.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by moffkalast | Parent

Because every time in history a new group of humans was discovered we could eventually communicate, but have so far managed to talk to exactly zero fish despite constant contact?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by notmypenguin | Parent

This might be stunning news, but Orcas aren't fish, they are mammals

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by moffkalast | Parent

Haven't talked to any non-domesticated mammals either, and even the domesticated ones are a bit of a stretch.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by ben_w | Parent

I've talked to a non-domesticated animal.

The wolf didn't even look up, much less reply.

Joking aside, between this and Neuralink, how close are we to cybernetic uplifting?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by marcosdumay | Parent

I'm pretty sure the orcas can understand a message of "not here" or "not boats like this".

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by moffkalast | Parent

Apparently humans do not understand a message of "stop taking our food or the boat gets it".

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by saltwatercowboy | Parent

I don't know. I'm very much waiting for the Cetacean Translation Initiative (CETI) to release their first set of results.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by boffinAudio | Parent

You reminded me of this absolutely adorable story of a wild dolphin named Dusty going off to find its own fashion flipper to wear, having observed a diver lose theirs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOXZYvDg1ck

Just makes me want to hang out with them so much more .. look at Dusty wearing that thing, what a player!

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dylan604 | Parent

I'm curious what the swimmer is trying to hide from with that camo

 

@ Tuesday, May 30th 2023 by boffinAudio | Parent

Sharks.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bandyaboot | Parent

Perhaps if we were to approach them while balancing salmon on our noses...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ethbr0 | Parent

Pretty sure that would result in juvenile orcas rolling their eyes and telling us "That's so last year."

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by belter | Parent

Maybe they are trying to warns us about something ?

"Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" - https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Star_Trek_IV:_The_Voyag...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by moltude | Parent

What I immediately jump to when reading these stories. The movie rates as one of my favorite Star Trek movies because of all the "colorful metaphors"

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by belter | Parent

"... Spock says that the probe signifies aliens of great intelligence that somehow, are unaware of the signal's destructive nature and that he thinks it illogical that the probe's intention is hostile. When McCoy asks if this is the probe's way of saying hello to the people of the Earth, Spock points out that only Human arrogance assumes the message must be meant for them..."

"...In the Bounty's lab, Spock discovers that it is in fact a whale song, specifically that of the humpback whale. McCoy at first wonders who would send a probe across the galaxy to speak to whales, but Kirk and Spock recognize that whales were on Earth ten million years before Humans. Humpback whales, Spock points out, have been extinct since the 21st century, and so it is possible an alien intelligence sent the probe to establish why they lost contact..."

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

>In this case, it's very likely that someone hurt one of them and they're now trying to make the world safer for themselves.

The orcas doing this are tuna eaters, and we are depleting the tuna population. Specifically, they eat blue fin tuna migrating through the Strait of Gibraltar in the spring and summer. They're hungry and don't appreciate the overfishing. This has been escalating for a few years now. Reports of boat attacks were happening several years ago.

>It's all very human.

They have their own intelligence and culture and behavior, and it need not relate to human culture.

Although, I do suspect their raw intelligence to be approximately equal to humans.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by twelve40 | Parent

doing nothing your entire life but killing fish to eat (and carrying dead salmon on your nose!) sounds like a massive hyperbole for "approximately human-equal intelligence"

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jasonzemos | Parent

Doing nothing your entire life but killing grazing animals and wearing their fur on your shoulders and teeth around your neck is just man a few thousand years removed.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

We still do that now and even worse. We used to do it for pure survival and need. Now we do it for pleasure more than anything else.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by roflyear | Parent

Yes, we're much worse towards animals, and really the entire ecosystem, then we were even 100 years ago. Pretty wild.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nashashmi | Parent

An effect of the establishment and growth of communism, subsequently its counterpart emergence of capitalism, and the growing culture of excess materialism ... called wealth.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jameshart | Parent

I think you read that history book backwards.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nashashmi | Parent

Ok? My research on this is capitalism was never coined until Marxism was coined. Marxism is the predecessor to communism. Communism was taken up during the Bolshevik revolution. Then it was demonized.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jameshart | Parent

Capitalism was happening before Marx described it as such.

And 'wealth' predates capitalism and mercantilism.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by nashashmi | Parent

The term capitalism was never coined or used before Marxism. You could find ideals and concepts that were adopted by the capitalist movement such as laissez-faire. But these were independent concepts separately developed.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by zztop44 | Parent

Technically correct, but capitalist and capital were both in use before Marx. In any case it's certainly more correct that Marxism is a response to capitalism, rather than the inverse.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by nashashmi | Parent

When Karl Marx wrote his book, it was in response to the aristocracy and bourgeois owning majority of the resources. He proposed resources be distributed amongst the people in service of the people or "working class" and proposed government take on this role.

Capitalism was termed and grouped together in response to Marxist philosophy because it was a threat to the aristocracy. Capitalism proposed anyone and everyone can get rich if they slave away hard enough. Yet the "capitalists" still owned much of the capital resources.

It is important to note that the normal person did not have too much opportunity in the mid 1800s. If you seen the movie the "English Game" this is evident in there. The concept of working hard and getting rich was introduced in the early 20th century. This is also about the time when schooling had become compulsory throughout the United States.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by zztop44 | Parent

Ah, I think we might be talking about different things when we talk about capitalism.

I'm using the word to describe an economic system where the means of production are controlled by private capital (ie: capitalists). In such a system, capitalists are able to deploy capital to exploit the labor value of the working classes. This is what Marxism emerged in response to, and as I understand it, is what Marx attempts to describe in Capital.

It seems you're using the term the way American/NATO Cold War propagandists used it, to describe a free economy where anyone can succeed with enough hard work and determination (in contrast to the Soviet system of planned economies).

The confusion is understandable. The word "capitalism" covers both meanings in everyday use.

 

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by nashashmi | Parent

Interesting. I didn't think there were two different meanings. I'm heavily influenced my Cold War propagandist. I'm going to have to re-study Marxist philosophy from this new perspective.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by 11235813213455 | Parent

+ a lot of pollution

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

Is there an actual argument there? What are they supposed to do or eat?

Orcas, other than humans, are the most widespread animal. They're in practically every ocean and continental coast and eat a variety of food. Orcas who concentrate on a single or a few species, like salmon, tuna, or rays, do so as a strategy. They are huge animals with huge caloric needs, so it makes sense to diversify so as to not over compete, and thus this makes it possible for different pods to live in the same areas.

Humans the world over are starving and yet there is an over abundance of food. The U.S. alone wastes 120 billion pounds of food every year. Humans have to monitor how much fish we eat because we have filled fish with toxins like mercury and microplastics. So orcas are the "dumb" ones because some eat fish?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nradov | Parent

No one is claiming that orcas are dumb or that they shouldn't eat fish. But throughout nature when two species compete for the same resource there will inevitably be conflict. Europeans have been generally overfishing for centuries and will need to cut back catch quotas to a sustainable level. The Mediterranean once teemed with life, now it's rare to see any large fish.

Famines are generally caused by bad governance, not by lack of food. We should reduce food waste where practical but that won't really help to feed the starving. For example, the 1980's Ethiopian famine which triggered major international relief efforts was primarily caused by a civil war. The opposing sides used hunger as a weapon and stole food from civilians. I can eat less tuna but that won't solve such problems.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

>Famines are generally caused by bad governance, not by lack of food.

That was primarily my point of calling that out, as it points to the lower emotional intelligence of humans.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by myshpa | Parent

You definitely should join those who eat less tuna ... lower demand, more pressure on politicians to actually do something.

https://www.seaspiracy.org/facts

"HIGHEST VALUE OF BLUEFIN TUNA: $3,100,000, CONSERVATION STATUS: ENDANGERED"

"TODAY ONLY 3% OF PACIFIC BLUEFIN TUNA REMAIN"

"OVERFISHING PUTS $42 BILLION TUNA INDUSTRY AT RISK OF COLLAPSE"

"A MITSUBISHI SUBSIDIARY CONTROLS 40% OF THE WORLDS BLUE FIN TUNA"

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/revealed-t...

"A corporation within the Ł170bn Mitsubishi empire is importing thousands of tonnes of the fish from Europe into Tokyo's premium fish markets, despite stocks plummeting towards extinction in the Mediterranean.

Bluefin tuna frozen at -60C now could be sold in several years' time for astronomical sums if Atlantic bluefin becomes commercially extinct as forecast, a result of the near free-for-all enjoyed by the tuna fleet."

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by twelve40 | Parent

>So orcas are the "dumb" ones because some eat fish?

that's a pretty twisted and incorrect reading of what i said, they don't have human level of intelligence because they all don't do anything else singificant their whole entire lives but hunt fish, not because they eat fish.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

You didn't respond to my other questions. What are they supposed to do and eat, then? What about what you said makes them unintelligent?

Edit: Replying to the reply I received here in an edit, since the comment is now dead.

I apologize for being confused, because I indeed was. I wasn't trying to do anything other than understand you're admittedly confusing argument, which is why I asked for an elaboration.

>Can you please point me to cultural, scientific, technological, architectural, philosophical achievements of orcas that are typically associated with human-level intellect?

Now we're getting somewhere interesting. :) None of those things, aside from maybe culture have anything to do with intelligence. Orcas certainly do have culture and do more than just eat. They stay with their families their entire lives, intelligently breading with other pods (i.e., not their relatives), have play, vocalization and by all appearances language, and even recreation, such as vising massaging pebbles or visiting their favorite areas. The have culture, such as play activities and hunting techniques, that are passed done from generation to generation and are activity taught to fellow pod members. There is even a famous example of orcas teaching and training humans to hunt whales in a mutually beneficial way that allowed the orcas to eat their favorite parts: the tongue.

An orca's brain is fascinating. It is much larger than a humans. Of course, their bodies are much larger and thus need more processing power to handle the larger system, but the brain size is certainly a component to their intelligence. What's more interesting is that their brain exhibits much higher density and complex folding than our brain does. Folds in brains increase surface area and are thought to correlate strongly with more processing power and higher intelligence. We are smoothed brain compared to them. Another fascinating thing about their brain is that the part of the brain associated with emotional intelligence in much larger than humans and other primates relative to the rest of the brain. So it stands to reason by both brain structure and their behavior that orcas are much more emotionally intelligent than humans. As a separate fact, orcas are one of only three mammals, the other being pilot whales and humans, that undergo menopause, an evolutionary adaptation that helps allow their matriarchical society to maintain its social structure and health.

Science is absolutely clear on this fact: orca brains have every indication of processing power that competes very seriously with human brains and in some ways out competes it. And with every bit of new research that comes out, we find out more that points in the positive direction of them being even more intelligent than we thought. Compared to ancient humans prior to agriculture and technology, their hunting techniques absolutely equal human techniques. It's possible that they are even more coordinated than humans.

Regarding the rest of the stuff you mentioned such as scientific, technological, architectural, philosophical achievements, none of these things matter for or hardly even relate to intelligence. For one, we have no understanding nor comprehension of their internal mental models and thus cannot comment on their philosophy.

For the rest, I would ask you to consider their environment. They live in the ocean and are forced to live near the surface due to being air-breathing mammals. Not even considering the fact that they lack hands and opposable thumbs, their environment makes technological progress impossible. There is no way to develop writing or printing technology, agriculture, architecture, or anything else due to their aquatic environment. As a thought experiment, take humans and give them the magically ability to live in the ocean permanently with the typical human dexterity, hands, and opposable thumbs. Writing, printing, recording of any kind would be impossible for ancient humans to obtain, thus preventing all technological development.

Lastly, one should consider what intelligence actually is. Orcas live their lives by eating responsibly and healthily, stay with their families, play, communicate, and live all without waging war. We humans live our lives slaved to our technology and socioeconomic systems with vast amounts of self-induced mental and physical health problems while trying to obtain some misplaced notion of permanence in this universe through AI or space travel, all while completely destroying the environment for ourselves and every other species. Humans are also some of the most if not the most violent species to ever exist. Which is more intelligent?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by twelve40 | Parent

>What are they supposed to eat

I answered that unlike what you are trying to accuse me of, I think there is nothing wrong with eating fish, the problem is inability to do anything else of significance but eat fish, talking about the dietary preferences is a diversion, so can we put that to rest already?

>What about what you said makes them unintelligent?

Can you please point me to cultural, scientific, technological, architectural, philosophical achievements of orcas that are typically associated with human-level intellect?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by flangola7 | Parent

Can you just engage in good faith please? Comments like this degrade the overall community and conversation.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by pie420 | Parent

Don't engage with trolls.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lacrosse_tannin | Parent

Not wrecking the planet

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

I edited my comment as a reply to this one. This reply of yours was flagged and dead earlier.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ignoramous | Parent

>Orcas live their lives by eating responsibly and healthily, stay with their families, play, communicate, and live all without waging war. We humans live our lives slaved to our technology and socioeconomic systems with vast amounts of self-induced mental and physical health problems while trying to obtain some misplaced notion of permanence in this universe through AI or space travel, all while completely destroying the environment for ourselves and every other species. Humans are also some of the most if not the most violent species to ever exist. Which is more intelligent?

All moot if we are in The Matrix already? If not, The Matrix is the end game, anyway? I wouldn't mind much as long as chicken tastes better than fish.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bnlxbnlx | Parent

Wow, i wasn't aware that there might be a connection between menopause and matriarchal societies--super fascinating! Do you have any sources you can recommend that offer more information on this?

Also i wasn't aware how much culture and collaboration orcas apparently have, thank you for sharing all that!

Edit: also, curious if you are aware of the work of marija gimbutas and heide göttner-abendroth on neolithic pre-patriarchal Europe (which seems to have been peaceful for thousands of years)?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

Two good books are

* Deep Thinkers: Inside the Minds of Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises by Janet Mann

* The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins by Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell

Whales in general are very fascinating in their social and emotional intelligences. Orcas just take their raw intelligence to a new level.

Also, I am not aware of that work. So thank you! I have been meaning to read Against the Grain by James C. Scott. He mentions that early agrian societies had less leisure time and were less healthy than their hunter gatherer counterparts.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by myshpa | Parent

>He mentions that early agrian societies had less leisure time and were less healthy than their hunter gatherer counterparts.

This is also described in high detail in "The Dawn of Everything" by another anarchist David Graeber. Highly recommend.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

Thanks for the reference! I am familiar with David Graeber from Dept, so thanks for bringing this other book of his to my attention.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bnlxbnlx | Parent

Thank you for the references, definitely going to look deeper into this.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by cutemonster | Parent

Orcas are amazing, I still see nothing in what you wrote that indicates they'd be brighter that say 5 to 7 years old kids. Kids have culture too, use tools etc.

Evolution doesn't generally add features that aren't needed. Orcas don't have arms, don't build skyscrapers or fly to the moon. There's no need to be that bright.

But if you want to believe that they could, if they just had had arms, well why not (although I dissent).

>Humans are also some of the most if not the most violent species to ever exist. Which is more intelligent?

Those are two different dimensions. Being intelligent doesn't mean you're kind hearted or less violent. Although it can indeed be simpler to understand others (which you can use in evil ways).

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by throwway120385 | Parent

Who says that anything humans do is a sign of intelligence? We're assuming quite a lot about the importance of skyscrapers or of going to the moon, and we're also assuming very little about what it takes to be an Orca.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

>I still see nothing in what you wrote that indicates they'd be brighter that say 5 to 7 years old kids. Kids have culture too, use tools etc.

I don't really see how you can claim that. What don't you see?

But, you also sort of prove my point as well. An 8 year old is as intelligent as an adult human. It isn't as knowledgeable or socially developed but the brain is basically 95% complete in its growth by 8 years old or so.

Part of the mistake is confusing knowledge or societal integration with intelligence.

>Evolution doesn't generally add features that aren't needed. Orcas don't have arms, don't build skyscrapers or fly to the moon. There's no need to be that bright.

But orcas do require intelligence. Their prey are dolphins, tuna, blue whales, humpback whales, beluga whales, seals, rays, salmon, herring, sharks, etc. Their prey are fast and strong and several of them (i.e., the mammals) have excellent hearing, sight, and intelligence of their own. They need their intelligence to cooperate in their hunting and to teach the learned techniques. And again, there are several indications and observations that their social and emotional intelligence is greater than humans. Orcas are currently considered a single species and thus that single species and brain provides for a huge variance in prey and living environments.

Ancient human brains and intelligence are identical to modern human brains and intelligence, and they had no need or capability for skyscrapers or going to the moon. Because again, technological development doesn't necessarily relate to intelligence. Technological development of humans is a bit of evolutionary runaway process because of our dexterity and brain combination. But just because we have a lot of technology doesn't mean we are the most intelligent. It is quite clear that our technogical development exceeds our social and emotional intelligence's ability to keep up.

>Those are two different dimensions. Being intelligent doesn't mean you're kind hearted or less violent.

It does indeed relate to social and emotional intelligence. Not everything is about bits and atoms.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by cutemonster | Parent

No, what are you doing? This is what I wrote:

>>I still see nothing in what you wrote that indicates they'd be brighter that say 5 to 7 years old kid

You then:

>sort of prove my point as well. An 8 year old is as intelligent as an adult

But I said not more than 5-7. (Could be 3-5 what do I know.)

which is not the same as 8.

And kids are kids, at 8 your brain is far from finished. (Maybe volume wise 95% but not IQ wise. I found 90% at age 5, volume/weight wise in a quick websearch). IQ wise: Not until a bit past 20 years.

(Where are you getting your ideas from?)

>Ancient human brains and intelligence are identical to modern human brains and intelligence

No.

You might have a link to some book that says otherwise, if so I would look at the authors as slightly dumb related to that.

>They need their intelligence to cooperate in their hunting

Dogs and hyenas do too.

I'm unlikely to reply any further.
Btw, just one thing:  when I was a teenager I had completely wildly crazy ideas about animals and
their abilities, ... And, maybe in a way, I know where you're coming from. Have a nice day
 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

>>Ancient human brains and intelligence are identical to modern human brains and intelligence

>No.

>You might have a link to some book that says otherwise, if so I would look at the authors as slightly dumb related to that.

When I said ancient himans I meant early homo sapiens. I have looked into this before and while the brain has evolved over the time of homo sapiens, it is very much the same core brain. And from what I can tell from my research, the homo sapiens brain has been relatively unchanged since about 100,000 - 200,000 years ago, well before any writing or technological developments. Again, knowledge and technology are not requirements for intelligence.

For your kid argument, you would have to argue that the last 5-10% of brain development accounts for the majority of human intelligence. I think that's a tough hill to climb.

>I'm unlikely to reply any further. Btw, just one thing: when I was a teenager I had completely wildly crazy ideas about animals and their abilities, ... And, maybe in a way, I know where you're coming from. Have a nice day

That's fine, but it's also a rather immature and childish way to have a discussion.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rubicon33 | Parent

>menopause, an evolutionary adaptation that helps allow their matriarchical society to maintain its social structure and health.

I've never hard of this before! Can you explain more?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

It is likely that I am overreaching my knowledge here on that fact or over simplifying from what I have read, and my statement is a little vague. From what I can tell, even the reason for menopause in humans seems highly debated. I did some more searching yesterday, and it does seem to be contentious in terms of why is it individually beneficial for older women to end fertility if concerned about gene survival and propogation. So it's a bit of speculation on my part.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rubicon33 | Parent

Fair enough, nothing wrong with proposing and interesting theory!

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ok_dad | Parent

I think there are a lot of humans who do nothing significant with their lives. Doesn't mean they aren't smart or capable.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Retric | Parent

I would extend that and say all humans don't do anything significant with their lives. It seems rather likely that humanity as a whole has had zero impact on an overwhelming majority of all life that exists or will exist, intelligent or otherwise.

Granted nobody particularly cares about the absolute scale but if you're complaining about significance it's obviously just personal bias.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by ok_dad | Parent

Alternately, there is only life on this planet, and were going to be responsible for killing it all. You can't be sure either way, so we must be way way more careful, in case this is it for the universe.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by giantrobot | Parent

Orcas tried metallurgy but they can't keep their forges lit. They're also not great airline pilots. So they've decided for now to stick with fishing.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by hluska | Parent

Some humans get to spend their lives hunting fish. The rest of us go to work because we have bills to pay.

You have a very weak argument.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tanseydavid | Parent

>>they all don't do anything else singificant their whole entire lives but hunt fish

But the article is about them organizing a posse to sink a sea-worthy boat!!!

Can you and your friends do that? Without the aid of tools?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by 93po | Parent

if the boat weighed as much as me, probably

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by 11235813213455 | Parent

and pets eat 1/5th of world meat & fish production, just leaving this here

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bena | Parent

Look, if Toonces drove a boat instead of a car, I'm sure Free Willy would be fucking his shit up, but as it stands, orcas don't know where any of what is caught is going. They just know that the boats are stealing their food.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nonethewiser | Parent

>Is there an actual argument there?

That balancing tuna on your nose doesn't display human like intelligence.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by DigiDigiorno | Parent

Perhaps he's playing 5d chess.

bmitc's inability to understand the argument in a meaningful way is itself evidence that human intelligence is closer to the orcas

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tanseydavid | Parent

But organizing in a group to destroy an enemy who has superior technology (a boat with a motor for example) does display human-like intelligence.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

No one said it did.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by tessierashpool | Parent

doing nothing your entire life but killing fish to eat (and carrying dead salmon on your nose!) sounds like a massive hyperbole for "approximately human-equal intelligence"

nobody suggested that they were intelligent because they eat and wear fish.

actual scientific research shows signs of culture, intelligence, and social learning, all of which point to approximately human-equal intelligence.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by twelve40 | Parent

ok, can't argue with actual scientific research

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ClumsyPilot | Parent

And what do fishermen do? Are fishermen not human?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by twelve40 | Parent

Why do you say that? Did i claim that all humans are fishermen? No orcas do anything else their entire lives, but less than 1% of humans are fishermen (and still negligible even if you include all ranching and agriculture in modern countries!)

And no, fisherman is not a "species" or a pre-defined destiny. Hemingway was a fisherman and a writer. Humans have the ability to do other things, even in the same lifespan. Sounds like arguing for 2+2=4.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by petre | Parent

That's probably what orcas think of humans fouling their water with oil and smoke leaking vehicles that also harvest their food and kill their siblings by dragging nets.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ethbr0 | Parent

If I were a long-lived species that had relatively low numbers of offspring with an extended maturation time spent in social groups...

... it seems pretty reasonable that a death could trigger a lifelong vendetta.

If humans were casually killed by other animals at the rate we casually kill even the most intelligent non-human species, we'd exterminate that other species. Oh wait, we have.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

I have always wondered why the Southern Resident orcas in the Pacific Northwest aren't more skittish of humans. We captured them, killing many in the process, back in the 1970s. Many local bystanders and observers reported the orcas crying and screaming being completely disheartening and upsetting.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/the-or...

https://www.timescolonist.com/local-news/50-years-ago-seven-...

https://us.whales.org/our-4-goals/end-captivity/the-penn-cov...

One of them still lives and has been in a single, tiny tank in Florida for five decades, alone for three decades. Completely sickening.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by skyyler | Parent

Sounds like a pretty relaxed lifestyle that is in harmony with nature.

Do they need to be exploiting each other to be smart or something?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

This is a great point that I also called out elsewhere. The orca lifestyle, despite their intelligence and their physical prowess, really speaks to a certain level of social and emotional intelligence that humans don't simply possess.

I think it's interesting that orcas and other intelligent animals possess an ability to be contented. Humans are decidedly discontented and crave.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by throwway120385 | Parent

If you've ever seen one hunt a seal you'll also see exactly how human-like they are when they play with their food by throwing it up in the air and catching it.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

A brutal practice for sure, but several animals will play with their food.

Have you considered that human violence exceeds playing with food by many, many orders of magnitude?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by andbberger | Parent

i mean they don't have thumbs what else are they going to do

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by soperj | Parent

>doing nothing your entire life but killing fish to eat (and carrying dead salmon on your nose!) sounds like a massive hyperbole for "approximately human-equal intelligence"

Most people do less, they don't even kill the meat that they eat.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by markhahn | Parent

you're overestimating what "intelligence" means, as well as what the median human does.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nominatronic | Parent

"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much--the wheel, New York, wars and so on--whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man--for precisely the same reasons."

- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1979

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rubicon33 | Parent

Isn't it interesting that ONLY humans seem to be blessed (cursed?) with a SPECIAL kind of intelligence? I don't doubt that Orcas and Dolphins are equally as intelligent, but they lack something critical to humans - the desire for MORE. We are constantly in need of the next thing, the biggest thing, the peak of possibility. They seem content just being and existing. More power to them!

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by mdekkers | Parent

>but they lack something critical to humans - the desire for MORE

Opposable thumbs is also a bit of an advantage

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by 93po | Parent

And a lifetime of structured learning. Let's compare intelligence to a feral human with no schooling and raised by other humans with no schooling. I imagine it'd be closer than we think.

 

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by hulitu | Parent

Why with a feral human ? What's wrong with politicians ? They apdo only care about their income source.

 

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by hulitu | Parent

>the desire for MORE

Sometimes you need to know when to stop.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by macawfish | Parent

And what do you do with your time? Stare at a glowing box all day? Doesn't that put you near the intelligence of a moth?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by StanislavPetrov | Parent

I know a numerous amount of humans who accomplish as little as these orcas but would be unable to carry a salmon on their nose.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by narag | Parent

The orcas doing this are tuna eaters, and we are depleting the tuna population.

Barbate is very close to my hometown. Tuna was captured in the area since Roman times:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baelo_Claudia

My father's family used to work in Sancti Petri, a village created around the almadraba, then closed half a century ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almadraba

Why did it close? Competence from japanese factory boats. Tuna was captured in deep sea before they coasted north. I believe Barbate still has one.

Another explanation in local news is that orcas get mad with the sound of motors and propellers. The nearby straight bears very heavy traffic.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by iamthejuan | Parent

Luckily these fishermen encountered a friendly group of orcas recently. https://youtu.be/yOoL6Pc2kDM

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by nunuvit | Parent

>They have their own intelligence and culture and behavior, and it need not relate to human culture.

I'm imagining the whales were discussing what to do about the humans overfishing all the tuna, and one of them said that human intelligence and culture are very whale-like, when this [1] pedantic seal passing by interjected a similar comment.

[1] https://youtube.com/shorts/lGS3gyjw-00

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by wappieslurkz | Parent

On a side note:
Almost any amount of fishing by humans should be considered over-fishing. We generally don't require the consumption of fish (ask the millions of people who don't consume sea"food"), while it's causing an extreme amount of damage and suffering.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AYBABTME | Parent

>In this case, it's very likely that someone hurt one of them and they're now trying to make the world safer for themselves. They've figured out a way to deal with the entity they see as a threat and they've spread that knowledge.

They seems to target only sailboats' rudders, which are arguably the most innoffensive of boats out there, but also the easiest prays. What I heard is that it seems like one orca decided it was fun (who actually knows their intent) and then the fashion spread.

It seems more likely to me that some kids are having a good time messing with sailboats, than some sort of revenge or something.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jna_sh | Parent

I saw conjecture on twitter (unfortunately I didn't save the tweet) that they were targeting rudders because of the similarity to tuna fins. They hunt tuna by removing the fins, to prevent the fish fleeing, and the tweeter's hypothesis was that they are using the sailboats as practice

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by tessierashpool | Parent

>one orca decided it was fun (who actually knows their intent) and then the fashion spread.

there's also been speculation that an orca discovered the method after being injured by a boat.

Researchers aren't sure why the orcas are going after the watercraft. There are two hypotheses, according to López. One is that the killer whales have invented a new fad, something that subpopulations of these members of the dolphin family are known to do. Much as in humans, orca fads are often spearheaded by juveniles, López says. Alternatively, the attacks may be a response to a bad past experience involving a boat.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-has-a-group-o...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AYBABTME | Parent

If it was past experience involving a boat, you'd think they'd attack powerboats. I really doubt a sailboat would have likely been involved into hurting orcas to the point where they would have learned to attack sailboats. Sailboats have keels in front of small propellers, and the propellers are usually purposefully not "exposed" or the first thing to be hit when colliding with an underwater object.

On the other hand, power boats have very shallow draft, basically no keel, and much larger and exposed propellers. And yet, it's sailboats that are attacked.

Hence to me it's quite obvious that the orcas are taking on the sailboats because sailboats are easy, slow and vulnerable targets. It's more likely that a bunch of young orcas are being jerks, like teenage humans are to vulnerable people. Also I don't buy that somehow orcas would be this pure, unable to do evil, species that is merely induced to be angry as a whole group because of the big bad humans. If they have a social structure, they have members of society that are jerks.

One way or another it's a problem if they target vulnerable boats.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by EdwardDiego | Parent

I'd believe it's a orca street gang.

Not sure if you're familiar with the kea[0], but it's a rather intelligent alpine parrot, and very social, and, like orca, when one learns something new, the knowledge is transferred to its peers quickly.

When I was living in a village in the mountains, groups of young male kea would come down to the village to have fun and incidentally cause trouble.

E.g., one group would hang out by the public toilets, and when people would pull in to use it, the kea gang would deflate a car tyre, sometimes two, it felt like a way of showing how tough they were, because one kea would remove the valve cap, then the other kea (plural) would take turns depressing the valve to make that "pfsssh" noise for as long as they could handle it, then to a chorus of cackles from its peers.

[0]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kea

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by belter | Parent

"Our delivery Yacht had a serious interaction with a large pod of Orcas" - https://youtu.be/iEpvQKxz5JU

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by spullara | Parent

Wasn't this in the plot of Avatar: The Way of Water?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by danjoredd | Parent

>I suspect that it might actually be possible to try diplomacy in this case

When we learn the language of Killer Whales that can be an option. However, there currently isn't a way to communicate with them in the same manner humans communicate with other humans.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nonethewiser | Parent

>>In this case, it's very likely that someone hurt one of them and they're now trying to make the world safer for themselves. They've figured out a way to deal with the entity they see as a threat and they've spread that knowledge.

Maybe. Or maybe marine biologist Dr. Renaud de Stephanis is right and they are playing.

>"From what I'm seeing, it's mainly two of those guys [the Gladises] in particular that are just going crazy. They just play, play and play. . . . It just seems to be something they really like and that's it."

>"I've seen them hunting," the biologist added. "When they hunt, you don't hear or see them. They are stealthy, they sneak up on their prey. I've seen them attacking sperm whales - that's aggressive....but these guys, they are playing."

https://people.com/traumatized-orca-may-have-taught-whales-t...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by gerdesj | Parent

I agree with you, they are absolutely lovely creatures, however we have to be so careful that we don't anf ... enthrop ... oh FFS ... anthropomorphize them.

Taking your dead salmon on the nose anecdote: that is fascinating but is it "culture" or a potential survival trait. I suspect that copied behaviour is in anticipation of a reward that will enhance survival. However it might be a form of embellishment, which would imply culture, as we know it.

Orcas are mammals, like us, that live in the sea (unlike us). They breathe air, which is rather scant in their environment - that means they are tied to the air/sea interface and they have to fall upwards to survive some problems they might encounter. I'll bet their at rest buoyancy is slightly less than seawater and their body shape favours turning them upright and putting their blowhole slightly out of the water.

They live in a very unforgiving environment and are also apex predators living off other creatures. They are bigger than most sharks which are at least able to always live submerged. They often end up in the Arctic and that means ice too to worry about to obscure the air/sea boundary.

No wonder they have invented some cunning behaviour.

For me the salmon thing was an epic fail, survival-wise but could be considered a form of "cargo cult". I think an example of a win is getting the pod to make a wave that washes a seal off an ice flow, so that they can pick it off.

That needs a lot more research. If nothing else we need a formal description of what "culture" actually means when we generalise across the entirety of life.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by drewmol | Parent

I always found this story[1] of orcas helping whalers pull whales by biting the harpoon ropes with their teeth truly fascinating.

[1]
https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-cultu...

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by Andy_G11 | Parent

What are the tool available to interspecies negotiators - stick / carrot diplomacy? Unfortunately the risks for anyone in control of budget to find solutions to these types of problems make brute force solutions seem quite palatable. Finding a way to create orca free zones or inventing orca deterrents to scare them away from boats is the more likely course of action. Maybe there is something that can be learned from cases where rural populations in India and Africa coexist with elephants or other wildlife that is large, intelligent and potentially dangerous?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by boffinAudio

I'm really curious about what techniques can be used to fight back against these attacks, preferably non-lethal .. has anyone tried blasting them with sound, or maybe some other technique to get them to back off?

I mean, what about feeding them a few snacks - can they be bought off?

Seems to me a daring sailor might ought to find the answers to these questions ..

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by L_226 | Parent

>has anyone tried blasting them with sound

Everything in the ocean is getting blasted by our human sound. Shipping, sonar, drilling - none of this ever stops and I would not be surprised if the Orcas have had enough.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by peterjancelis | Parent

The official recommendations to sailors is: Shut off the engine, take down the sails, make no sound, wait.

What sailors will admit they do but not tell anyone: Dump a bit of diesel or petrol in the water around the boat to scare away the orcas.

There are also some new gadgets available to make high pitched sounds that humans can't hear but scare away orcas (and dolphins, unfortunately) but no idea if they work well.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by londons_explore | Parent

>What sailors will admit they do but not tell anyone: Dump a bit of diesel or petrol in the water around the boat to scare away the orcas

Pumping bilge water into the sea makes them go away real quick. It's obviously illegal, but frequently done.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AHOHA | Parent

What if.. that's the reason why they are attacking?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by LgWoodenBadger | Parent

Well whatever you do, don't try snacks with dolphins. The federal penalties in the US are severe.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ClumsyPilot | Parent

it's illegal to give snacks to dolphins? Or to snack on dolphins?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by proto_lambda | Parent

>has anyone tried blasting them with sound

That's likely why they're attacking boats in the first place.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jml78 | Parent

It is only sailboats and most of the attacks start when they are sailing so no engine running


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by blinding-streak

https://archive.ph/nn90e


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by hidden80

What's communication like between orcas and dolphins, and even... whales? Could this behavior be learned by, say, blue whales?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Dobbs | Parent

Orcas are dolphins. Do you mean bottle nose dolphins?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by hidden80 | Parent

I think so. You just reminded me that orcas are dolphins, but I'm more curious about the potentially devastating effect of a blue whale exhibiting this sort of "aggression".

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by z3phyr | Parent

Blue whales are usually loners and thus not capable of planning and inflicting damage like a pack of sea wolves.

Blue whales are usually also very calm and do not have teeth (They can still be aggressive in defending themselves or their calves against orcas, who do sometimes hunt Blue whales)

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

Orcas are both dolphins and whales. I think it's pretty clear that the commenter meant other dolphins and whales.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bmitc | Parent

Fish-eating orcas have been observed communicating to dolphins in a way different from their normal orca dialects.

The transient subtype of orcas eat dolphins and whales though, so I doubt there's much fraternization there. Humpback whales have been observed interrupting orca attacks on other humpback whales and even otber species.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by mxuribe

So, it has begun! Soon the dolphins will fly off into space...and then, we'll be in quite the pickle as the rest of the plan deploys. ;-)

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by LesZedCB | Parent

eh the highway probably has high utility value. just make it quick and painless.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by olliecornelia

They're about to enter the "find out" phase.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by giraffe_lady | Parent

Or we are.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by olliecornelia | Parent

I don't know, humans are very good at killing cetaceans.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by neom

Some video footage of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwz8FTAgW-M


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by amadazia

I wonder why intelligent species in the sea are revelling? Could it be sonar, shipping noise, food chain disturbance.

We trousered apes are so primitive and utterly dim when it comes to interspecies communication.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by JumpCrisscross | Parent

>We trousered apes are so primitive and utterly dim when it comes to interspecies communication

I know this is a common and cute framing. But it's escapist.

We're the planet's apex species using our unrivaled control to make it uninhabitable for other complex life. The Earth may not care about the damage we're doing, but the species that are dying would prefer not to. There isn't a rebellion they can mount against us. Their entire survival depends on our giving a shit.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by HeyLaughingBoy | Parent

It's also completely wrong when you consider the number of domesticated animals that need to be communicated with by humans on a daily basis. My wife's a horse trainer: she just finished doing exactly that a few minutes ago.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by stjohnswarts | Parent

We think we are the apex species but at some point we'll meet a fungi or bacteria strain that's way more apex than we are.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by snapcaster | Parent

I don't know about that, it seems like many have tried and humans beat all of them

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by permo-w | Parent

this is the crux of the matter. as a species we're so careless that if this is a warning or revenge for something, we don't know what because there are too many options to choose from. this whole thread is an illustration of that. "could it be noise pollution?". "has an influential orca been hit by a rudder?". "perhaps it's overfishing?", etc. even if it's none of those things, and this is just a fad, it's a sorry state of affairs

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dfc | Parent

What other animals excel at interspecies communication?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by George83728 | Parent

Birds I bet. Parrots can kind of, sort of, talk to humans. And besides that, I bet many species of birds can effectively communicate with others. There are dozens of species of crow, I bet many if not all of them can understand at least some of what the others are saying.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pvaldes

They finally discovered that boats may contain a layer of yummy immigrants (or delicious drug packets?)

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Obscurity4340 | Parent

Do orcas like drugs? I feel like cocaine or methamphetamine would be barrels of fun for them

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pvaldes | Parent

... Aaand here comes the plot twist in this thread!:

https://www.euronews.com/2022/02/11/spanish-police-bust-drug...

I bet that you didn't see it coming. Me neither ;-)

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by HeyLaughingBoy | Parent

We already tried that with bears!

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by 11235813213455 | Parent

or a fishing boat with the tunas they couldn't find


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by benbojangles

Cocaine Orca?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by victorbstan

The animal revolution has begun. Death to humans!

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ClumsyPilot | Parent

About bloody time


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Ccecil

Said it years ago in another post when this same thing came up.

Maybe the autorudder is the issue. PWM noise. In the previous article there was mention that the boats had autorudders on them.

Perhaps this is happening more because more people are using invasive noise producing equipment.

Of course...I am not an Orca researcher, nor am I in Spain. I wonder if it should be mentioned to someone official?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AYBABTME | Parent

Pretty much all boats have autopilots on them, and for a while. Nothing new here.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Ccecil | Parent

Do they all have the same kit?

There are a lot of homebrew ones out there using stuff like windshield wiper motors hooked to off the shelf control circuitry [1]. It "functions" but has anyone looked into the effects? Doesn't hurt to see if there is a correlation.

The video below is an example. It also has rudder feedback...so that very easily could cause an oscillating signal. Which would also vary in pitch as the rudder was hit by the Orca.

I know I can hear PWM'ed stepper motors...and many younger people complain about them. I wonder what that sounds like to an animal which uses sonar and can hear different ranges.

[1] https://youtu.be/-nA6wo9PXls?t=5

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by tejtm | Parent

hmm I wonder if it could be something as simple as a "leafblower" effect
with the non-analog mechanical seeking.

Testable by decoupling the drive and or damping the rudder.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Ccecil | Parent

Can you explain this more? Or link some stuff explaining more...would like to understand what you mean exactly.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by tejtm | Parent

can try,
basically a motor-sensor loop can "hold position" by noticing when it has gone past some threshold then corrects in the opposite direction ... rinse and repeat.

Some systems may have thresholds that cause the rudder to "quiver" while staying on course, To an intelligent creature exquisitely sensitive to things quivering in the water this could be a major annoyance.

the main types of motors likely used in this application are Servos and Steppers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servomotor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepper_motor

Here is a page that describes the behavior and calls it "hunting"

https://www.motioncontroltips.com/what-is-hunting-in-the-con...

But we are far afield from what I know,
so apologies to the EEs and Robotasists for my gross simplifications.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Ccecil | Parent

That was what I thought you meant. And yeah that was pretty much exactly what I was thinking.

If the current was pushing against the rudder in waves it would also make a rhythmic pitch change that went along with the water movement.

If the whales hit the rudder it makes a "whine"...which is what an animal might do as well.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pcurve | Parent

Experts theorize this is a revenge behavior resulting from one of the orcas encountering traumatic event with a boat. The problem is, other orcas are emulating it.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dragonwriter | Parent

>Experts theorize this is a revenge behavior resulting from one of the orcas encountering traumatic event with a boat. The problem is, other orcas are emulating it.

Crows, IIRC, communicate the identity of other individuals who are witnessed to injure crows to other crows; orcas communicating similarly but generalizing to a class of offenders seems not too surprising.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AHOHA

Orcas don't eat humans, we are too bony for their taste, they also hunt in groups, and it seems we are not worth that coordination either, especially they follow their mother's diet. So why the sudden attacks even though they know it's for humans? No idea, but I'm sure they are either fed up with us or trying to hint something else.. or maybe as others suggested, some substance is the reason.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by sethammons | Parent

While orca attacks on humans are practically unheard of outside of aquariums, I've never heard anything about humans being too bony.

Orcas eat moose and they are more bony than us I think.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by AHOHA | Parent

I remember I read it before but I can't find the source, will update this comment if I find it. Keep in mind, Orcas don't kill us either, not just as a food

>"They're killing the porpoise, it's already dead or dying. And with one bite they can eat the whole thing. Yet these whales just don't see these porpoise as prey. And I think it's the exact same thing with humans--they don't see humans as prey. Thank goodness, they don't see humans as play toys."(1)

Sharks on the other hand, mostly they don't eat the humans they kill, they just kill and probably realize we don't taste that good after the first bite, but unlike Orcas, they are not as intelligent and/or able to teach and pass this info to their kids.

(1) https://www.newsweek.com/there-no-records-orca-ever-killing-...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ClumsyPilot | Parent

Orcas are some of the smartest creatures around, it is entirely possible that they can see the connection between humans and ships and realise there is something going on

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by 11235813213455 | Parent

also because white sharks visions is not as good as orcas

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by pg_1234 | Parent

>While orca attacks on humans are practically unheard of outside of aquariums,

Inside aquariums I think orcas can reasonably claim self defense.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by echelon | Parent

Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.

They attack Inuit hunters:

https://www.reddit.com/r/TerrifyingAsFuck/comments/13lji7w/a...

They investigate dogs as potential prey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8V97_DKfhw

There's ample evidence that they eat moose and deer. (Videos of this can be graphic. There's no hunting, but video of corpses that clearly indicate predation.)

I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by amelius

The problem is that once a whale gets run over by a ship, he/she will (somehow) tell the other whales that ships are "bad" and must be attacked. Then whales tell eachother that ships must be attacked, and this continues even after the original whale that got run over by a ship dies.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by codyb | Parent

To be fair to the orcas, boats do seem to be awful for them. At the Seattle aquarium there's tons of information about how the noise from boats makes hunting much more difficult for orca pods. This was a sailing vessel but maybe they're unable to distinguish? Or maybe it was running it's motor, most sailing vessels of sufficient size have on board motors.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by m463 | Parent

Maybe without a noisy motor it's like a "dead" or "sleeping" ship

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lisasays | Parent

I would put it this way: the "problem" is ships running over these poor whales.

Not the whales doing what they've been doing for millions of years.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by potatototoo99 | Parent

That's counter to nature. Does the apex predator care how many millions of years the prey species has?

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by stjohnswarts | Parent

Modern medical care is counter to nature, shouldn't those humans that need medical attention, who are less able to survive, get out of the gene pool ?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by justanotheratom | Parent

Why do they hate us?

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pessimizer | Parent

They must hate our freedom.

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by olalonde | Parent

Source?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by local_crmdgeon

That's awesome. Good for them.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by honkycat

Love all of the empathy and love for these intelligent creatures in the comments.

Sadly, humanity continues to over fish and poison their home in order to enrich the greedy of this work.

Next time some fuckwad in a suite starts ranting about pronouns and religion, picture a baby whale being dragged to it's death by a fishing vessel. Picture a fishing vessel dumping massive amounts of plastic netting into the ocean. Picture the dead coral reefs, the baked dead fields ruined by rising temperatures.

And ask yourself: Why are they talking about pronouns instead of something that actually fucking matters?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by cromulent

There has been discussion about the rudder targeting behaviour over recent years being one of the latest adolescent fads.

https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/attacking-boat...


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by mzs

video itself: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/182908290341057...

 

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by notyourwork | Parent

>Login to view this story.

Bummer.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by el_don_almighty

I, for one, welcome our new Orca overlords and look forward to working with them.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by drewmol

I was recently thinking about the potential failure modes of a worldwide sailing trip on a 60-80 ft vessel. Marooned by Orcas was not on the list... but it is now!


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by RadixDLT

the whales has had enough

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by trompetenaccoun | Parent

Jesus Marie, they're dolphines!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by jmacjmac

Is there a way to scare them off? Some sort of sound maybe?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by YeGoblynQueenne

Unfortunately, there are too few orcas and too many boats to get any good results that way.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by sacnoradhq

We're gonna need a bigger boat.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by meristohm

Recently finished reading A Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Parry[0] to my child and, like Parry's book A Wolf Called Wander, I was moved to tears. The author does a good job of trying to portray the animals as that species, not just personified as human (granted, I don't know what it's like to be an orca or a wolf, but my point is that it is important to try to empathize with other animals). It's a quick read if it was just you reading to yourself.
In the story the orcas attempt to communicate with humans and also other orcas, which the author notes in the back that this was for the sake of the story and that we observe orcas from different groups going out of their way to avoid each other and thus avoid conflict.

[0] https://www.worldcat.org/title/A-whale-of-the-wild/oclc/1225...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by Tiktaalik

It's so curious that they're attacking sail boats of all things.

You'd think these would be the most benign and least impactful of all possible boats on the Orca's environment.

 

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by drewmol | Parent

I wonder if it has to do with the sails. Reflection is annoying to their hunting? Illuminating areas or providing shadow cover to their prey somehow?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by drewmol

It seems that they are building artificial reefs.


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