Project CETI featured in the New Yorker

September 4, 2023
September 4, 2023

We’re thrilled to share that Project CETI is featured in The New Yorker this week in a piece authored by Elizabeth Kolbert (best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History). The article covers how our nonprofit organization came to be, the work we are doing across a team of over 40 scientists and 15 institutions to translate whale communication and invites readers onto the water with our field team on the ground in Dominica.

The article also gives a first look at an unexpected event we witnessed this summer: a sperm whale birth! What started out as a normal day of recording whale communication codas, quickly became exciting when our team noticed unusual communication patterns amongst the whales. CETI’s synced drones and hydrophones captured the before, during and after the birth. We saw and recorded 11 whales work together to support the birth and lift the new baby whale out of the water to breathe. The team watched the whale calf being carried by these whales for hours so it could stay afloat and breathe since its tail was still furled. Later the sperm whales were joined by pilot whales and dolphins.

Project CETI’s capture of the sperm whale birth marks the first time since the 1980s that a scientific record of a whale birth has been documented. Furthermore, this particular capture is the first one to include underwater audio and visuals. This capture is critical to helping the larger world understand more about whale society and gain more appreciation for non-human beings that inhabit our world.

The CETI science team is now working to uncover insights from this extraordinary event - we already know that the baby whale’s mother, nicknamed “Rounder” and sibling “Accra” were among the group..stay tuned for more on this to come!

A huge thank you to The New Yorker for covering this historic moment with Project CETI. Read the full article here and watch the companion video here.