In his Natural History, Pliny criticizes the proverbial swan song for its accuracy. The idiom refers to the song swans purportedly sing upon their demise. Pliny objects however that swans don’t in fact sing upon their death or otherwise.

Songs are slippery, Pliny’s bald repudiation notwithstanding. And fake songs slipperier still. Today we offer a few words not on avian but cetacean songs. These aren’t swan songs in the sense of finalities marked, but are indeed of a kind with swan songs in their being unsung.

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