Infographic: Hear the Orcas Sing
Killer whales in the eastern Pacific look a lot alike and are currently classified as a single species. But over the last quarter century, scientists on the Alaska coast have been cataloguing many significant differences between populations, including body type and behavior, that might call for rethinking that classification. (Read "The Woman Who Loves Orcas" from our Spring 2013 issue to learn more.)
One major difference is the way killer whales communicate. The orcas of Alaska's rapidly dwindling AT1 pod seem to have an ancestry (perhaps originating from across the Pacific) that is genetically distinct from other nearby populations -- and they speak a language entirely their own.
Click on MORE PHOTOS to see how the eastern Pacific orca pods are related and hear their songs.