Whales as Individuals volunteers are sometimes more accurate than scientists. Comparing 2,500 pigment categories assigned to humpback whale flukes — category 1 (all white) to category 5 (all dark) on images that had been categorized by scientists, we found great results from volunteers. Over 50% of results are within 0.2 categories of what scientists said (basically a perfect match), 91% of results are within 1 category, and when we look at the most different results, those that are > 2 categories different, the majority of these are from errors in the data from scientists. Here’s an example: The image above, of ‘CRC-15599’, was categorized by scientists as a 5, meaning all dark. This is obviously a data error, fixed thanks to Zooniverse volunteers.
However, a word of caution to volunteers! Be sure to look closely — this second image looks at a glance like a mostly dark to all dark tail (category 5), but look closely — the image is very back-lit but you can see especially on the right side that it is about half black / half white (category 3)
We’ve just uploaded a batch of new whale images from Antarctica and California, so join us in helping match these whales at www.zooniverse.org/projects/tedcheese/whales-as-individuals