A new study conducted by researchers at the SETI Institute, University of California Davis and the Alaska Whale Foundation has found that the first interaction between humans and whales could help communicate with aliens if the first extraterrestrial contact happens.
The revelation from researchers comes amid they "conversed" with a humpback whale named Twain using an underwater speaker and recorded a humpback "contact" call.
According to researchers, the humpback whale responded to the researchers' call by matching the interval variations between signals of each playback call attempts made in a span of 20 minutes.
A statement from the SETI Institute said that this development could help humans contact and communicate with other species in the future.
"We believe this is the first such communicative exchange between humans and humpback whales in the humpback language," said Dr. Brenda McCowan of University of California Davis, who is also the lead author of the study.
The Whale-SETI team has been studying humpback whale communication systems in an effort to develop intelligence filters for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
"Humpback whales are extremely intelligent, have complex social systems, make tools - nets out of bubbles to catch fish -, and communicate extensively with both songs and social calls," said Fred Sharpe of the Alaska Whale Foundation, co-author of the study.
The press statement added that the Whale-SETI team is studying intelligent, terrestrial, non-human communication systems to develop filters to apply to any extraterrestrial signals received.
"Because of current limitations on technology, an important assumption of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is that extraterrestrials will be interested in making contact and so target human receivers. This important assumption is certainly supported by the behavior of humpback whales," noted Dr. Laurance Doyle of the SETI Institute, another co-author on the paper.