Whales are the largest animals on Earth, not to mention among the most famous crooners — but scientists fear that whale songs will soon become as obscure as 12th century lute music. According to new research, whale sounds might be no match for ambient underwater noise from commercial shipping, military sonar, and seismic surveys. That ever-increasing artificial din could reduce the distance over which whale songs can be heard. That’s bad news for species like the blue whale and the fin whale. Scientists think that the male members of these species use low-frequency love songs (which can travel thousands of miles underwater) to attract mates — so if the songs go unheard, the survival of the species could be threatened.