Killer Whale Taught To 'Speak' Human Words

Killer Whale Taught To 'Speak' Human Words

Killer Whale Taught To 'Speak' Human Words

And in 2012, another paper in Current Biology reported "spontaneous mimicry of the human voice" by a beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). She easily developed sounds resembling a creaking door and the blowing of a raspberry.

The researchers set out to find out whether killer whales could learn new vocalisations by imitating others.

"Killer whales use their blowhole to make noises, nearly like speaking out of your nose, so we were not expecting it to be flawless", said Dr Jose Abramson, a researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid, who led the study.

"The evidence that killer whales can show vocal learning provides us with a missing piece of understanding about their lives in the wild", Rendell wrote. This is thought to be the first of its kind to copy human speech by a whale.

A killer whale has been taught by scientists to copy human speech.

They eat marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, and are known to grab seals right off the ice.

Abramson said the orca's ability to mimic does not mean she understands what she is saying. "We have no evidence that they understand what their "hello" stands for", he said.

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Researchers have taught an orca, also known as a killer whale, to imitate human speech sounds.

In addition to her trainers, Wikie's success was also judged by six independent adjudicators who compared recordings of her copies to the original sound, without knowing which was which.

The achievement is even more remarkable because whales do not have the same vocal ability as humans having evolved to make their own sounds underwater.

The female whale learned to "speak" a handful of human words by copying its trainer at a marine park in France, BBC said Its repertoire includes the name "Amy" and "one, two, three".

"You can not pick a word that is very complicated because then I think you are asking too much - we wanted things that were short but were also distinctive", said Call. She successfully reproduced some sounds - such as the phrases "hello" and "one, two, three" - on her first attempt. Indeed, Wikie's reproduction of the word "hello" sounds practically human.

Wikie was given a fish or an affectionate pat when she achieved the sound to reinforce the learning.

While the sounds were all made and copied when the animals' heads were out of the water, Call said the study shed light on orca behaviour. The researchers ensured the sounds were indeed unfamiliar to Wikie by recording 28 hours of in-air spontaneous sounds produced by the Wikie and her calf during their free time and identifying any vocalized sounds that may be similar to the study sample sounds.

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