Last updated at 08:53 BST, Monday, 28 April 2014

Mystery of ocean 'duck' sound solved

Summary

25 April 2014

A sound like a duck heard in the Southern Ocean has confused scientists for 50 years. But the mystery has now been solved, according to research published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Reporter:

Rebecca Morelle

Antarctica

The strange noise was recorded in the sea around the Antarctic

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This is the noise that's puzzled scientists for more than 50 years. The mysterious sound can be heard in the winter in the seas around Antarctica and Australia.

It's nicknamed "the bio-duck" by those who think it sounds like a duck quacking.

Now researchers say acoustic recorders attached to two Antarctic minke whales have revealed that the bizarre noise is the animal's underwater chatter.

Scientists say solving this long-standing mystery will help them to learn more about these little-studied mammals and help them to establish where the whales can be found.

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Vocabulary

puzzled

confused

nicknamed

given an informal name

quacking

making the sound of a duck

acoustic recorders

machines which record sounds

bizarre

unusual; very strange

chatter

(here) quick repeated noises

mammals

animals which drink milk from their mother's body when they are young

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