For years, scientists have been asking why beluga whales blow bubbles. Though they are not sure of the answer, several theories have been formed over time.
Some people believe that beluga whales blow bubbles to show emotion. Recently, scientists spent eight years in Marine Land Park which is close to Toronto, to collect data on the bubbles. They learned that whales blow various bubbles in different situations, such as when they are swimming together versus when they want to show aggression.
Another theory is that beluga whales blow bubbles to play. Because belugas do not have toys, they invent their own: bubble rings. They blow and swim through these rings. Research shows that when they have more serious things to do however, like during mating season, they do not blow bubbles. Instead, the males patrol the bodies of water in which they are mating.
Biologist Michael Noonan believes that whales blow bubbles to interact with their world, as a kind of communication system. Noonan thinks that they interact with one another humans do. He also suggests that whales work similar to humans, and they blow bubbles as a creative release like we do when we draw or dance.
“We're mammals and they're mammals,” Noonan said. “That doesn't mean their mental lives are identical to ours, but until proven otherwise, I think we can assume we are more similar than we are different,” he added.
There are many theories about why belugas blow bubbles. Even if researchers like Noonan never discover the true reason, I believe we can all agree that it is a peculiar and fascinating occurrence.
[Source: Smithsonian Magazine]