When a whale sings, it fills the sea with more than just serene sounds. It also sends vibrations coursing through the water like a speaker with the bass turned way up. Though scientists have long listened to the marine mammals’ melodies, they haven’t really been feeling the music. Now, a new study highlights this overlooked and poorly understood component to the whale’s song.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters, a team of researchers reported detecting humpback whale vibrations from more than 650 feet away. The researchers said that the rattles travelled farther than expected, suggesting that they may play a role in whale-to-whale communication.

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