Researchers have discovered that sperm whales have their own unique culture. No, that doesn’t mean that they often go to museums or to the theatre!
Lots of animals learn from their own experiences over time. For instance, you might be able to teach your dog some tricks or commands like sit, stay, and come. But your dog is not very likely to see another dog sitting for a treat at the dog park and learn to sit.
Sperm whales are different. They not only learn through their own experiences, but also by communicating with other pods of sperm whales. This was discovered by looking at how sperm whales behaved around specific threats.
Usually, the only threat to sperm whales is from orcas. To protect themselves against orcas they form huddles on the surface of the water. But that doesn’t help them when the threat is from humans hunting them.
Researchers found that sperm whale pods who didn’t know how to protect themselves from human hunters were able to learn from more experienced pods. They very quickly learnt how to protect themselves, and made it much harder for humans to hunt them.