Brief notes on: Leviathan, or the Whale, by Philip Hoare

As I picked the next book from my unread Pile of Shame I thought ‘Why did I buy a book about whales?’

I’ve now read a book about whales

A 420-page book about whales

Scientists have detected a whale whose call was on a different frequency than others. This whale spent ten years making this sound, seemingly never once getting a response at that frequency. The scientists speculated that the reason for the whale’s unique voice was either that it was a cross-breed, the spawn of different whale-type lovemaking; or that it was defective in some way. They also posited that the whale could be hearing on the same frequency as other whales and trying to respond, but not realising the others couldn’t hear it.

This whale could’ve spent ten years hearing potential mates, trying and failing to reply, and swimming around alone looking for them. For a decade.

And you think you’re lonely?

It’s likely that someone once stuck a spike or harpoon into a whale’s head. The oil within flowed out, turning cloudy as it was exposed to the air. ‘That’ll be sperm then’, someone thought. Hence the name ‘sperm whale’.

I like to think of this as Leviathan’s sequel

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