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Common Calls

Each orca family has its own set of, on average,12 discrete calls. These calls are passed from the orca mother to her offspring. Some calls are shared by other groups, which suggests that these groups are related to each other through the adult females. The degree of similarity of these shared calls indicates just how closely the groups are related. Groups with shared calls form a clan. The southern resident community has just one clan, "J Clan", whereas the northern resident community has three clans; "A", "G" and "R". With experience, it is possible to distinguish each family's "dialect" from those of other families. Each call has been assigned a code by researchers to facilitate classification. The following are examples of calls from the 3 clans of the northern resident community:

A Clan N2 ,N4 ,N16
Resting Call N3

G Clan N23, N24, N25,"ping"

R Clan N32 , N33

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