Just like us, humpback whales succumb to musical fads. Every few years, all the males in one part of the ocean will swap their complex chorus of squeaks and moans for an entirely new one.

This new tune will ripple across the waves, to be adopted by other males separated by thousands of miles — much farther than the song can carry in the water. One humpback melody is displaced by another, much as today’s hit single dislodges yesterday’s No 1.

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