A Whale of a Friendship

WOMEN OFTEN HAVE ANNUAL REUNIONS. So, evidently, do female humpback whales, according to the Canada-based Mingan Island Cetacean Study group, which uses photographic identification techniques to track their movements in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (I read this recently on bbc.co.uk; details are in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, which is probably not on your local newsstand). Although humpbacks spend the bulk of each year apart, migrating and breeding, the report says, similar-aged females—never males and females—reunite each summer to gulp krill and plankton while swimming side by side (the longest recorded friendship so far has lasted six years). The reason is probably improved feeding efficiency, not sentiment, but who knows? They could be getting together to bare their souls, exercise their flukes, or take in a chick flick like Sex in the City 2, which, despite some of the worst reviews in history, has grossed an estimated $216 million (and counting) worldwide.