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The perception of complex tones by a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens).

Authors
  • Yuen, Michelle M L
  • Nachtigall, Paul E
  • Breese, Marlee
  • Vlachos, Stephanie A
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Publisher
Acoustical Society of America
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2007
Volume
121
Issue
3
Pages
1768–1774
Identifiers
PMID: 17407913
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Complex tonal whistles are frequently produced by some odontocete species. However, no experimental evidence exists regarding the detection of complex tones or the discrimination of harmonic frequencies by a marine mammal. The objectives of this investigation were to examine the ability of a false killer whale to discriminate pure tones from complex tones and to determine the minimum intensity level of a harmonic tone required for the whale to make the discrimination. The study was conducted with a go/no-go modified staircase procedure. The different stimuli were complex tones with a fundamental frequency of 5 kHz with one to five harmonic frequencies. The results from this complex tone discrimination task demonstrated: (1) that the false killer whale was able to discriminate a 5 kHz pure tone from a complex tone with up to five harmonics, and (2) that discrimination thresholds or minimum intensity levels exist for each harmonic combination measured. These results indicate that both frequency level and harmonic content may have contributed to the false killer whale's discrimination of complex tones.

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