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1 .This is Scientific American 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata. Got a minute?

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2 .We humans are social creatures—we stick together.

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3 .Family traditionally came first.

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4 .Then more distant relatives.

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5 .Then larger groups of unrelated individuals, connected by culture.

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6 .But it turns out the same could be said for sperm whales.

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7 ."So usually you find the female, and their mom and the grandmas and their aunts, and they all stay together for many years."

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8 .Maurcio Cantor, a biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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9 .He says those closely related family groups then seek out other families with similar behavior:

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10 ."They tend to hang out or stay together with those who produce the same kinds of sounds."

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11 .Meaning whale cliques are based on producing similar clicks.

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12 .And similarly clicking whales don't just hang out together, he says.

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13 .They also emulate each other's songs, or codas.

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14 .Meaning clans of whales evolve their own dialects, their own form of culture.

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15 .And these dialects are key.

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16 .Cantor and colleagues built a computer simulation of generation after generation of virtual whales.

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17 .And they found that no other factor, like genetics or mother-daughter teaching could explain the emergence of the clans and dialects in real sperm whale society.

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18 .The study appears in the journal Nature Communications.

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19 ."I'm not trying to say that the types of culture the whale has are the same as human culture.

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20 .Obviously human culture is much more diverse and complex and cumulative and symbolic.

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21 .But it's very fascinating just to see that they can have some type of similarities, they can have their own type of culture.""

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22 .And maybe a better understanding of that whale culture, he says, might persuade a few human cultures to be a bit more conservation-minded, when it comes to whales.

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23 .Thanks for the minute, for Scientific American 60-Second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.

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