Why Scientists Are Starting to Care About Cultures That Talk to Whales Arctic people have been communicating with cetaceans for centuries. The rest of the world is finally listening in

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Today, as Western scientists try to better understand Indigenous peoples’ relationships with animals—as well as animals’ own capacity for thoughts and feelings—such beliefs are gaining wider recognition, giving archaeologists a better understanding of ancient northern cultures.

“If you start looking at the relationship between humans and animals from the perspective that Indigenous people themselves may have had, it reveals a rich new universe,” says Matthew Betts, an archaeologist with the Canadian Museum of History who studies Paleo-Eskimo cultures in the Canadian Arctic.

“What a beautiful way to view the world.”

The idea that Indigenous people have spiritual relationships with animals is so well established in popular culture it’s cliché. Yet constricted by Western science and culture, few archaeologists have examined the record of human history with the perspective that animals feel emotions and can express those emotions to humans.

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https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science/talking-to-whales-180968698/

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