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Killer whale learns to imitate human speech in world first

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posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 07:54 PM
Killer whale learns to imitate human speech in world first

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

The researchers were studying a 14-year-old female killer whale named Wikie, who was well-trained and had been taught how to copy behaviours in a previous study.

The words recorded included the trainers name, "Hello", "bye, bye" and "one two".

The Research

This is fantastic. Despite it just being their blow hole sounds, which of course doesn't sound out the words to a t, etc. I hope this brings more preservation in mind for them.

While this isn't the first whale on record to mimic human speech, shown in Beluga whales as far back as 1984, this is a first for Orcas. Just last year an Orangutan demonstrated that it can mimic human words. As many of us pet owners know, it's not uncommon with our canine friends.

More Mimics

edit on 31-1-2018 by dreamingawake because: sp

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 08:01 PM
a reply to: dreamingawake

I love little nuggets like this.. thank you for sharing!

I had a cat once who, when his litterbox was not kept to his standard, would stand in front of it and mewl what sounded exactly like " nooo noooooooooooo nooooo!"



posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 08:19 PM
a reply to: Mike Stivic

Mine yowls hello all night when she's in heat.

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 09:25 PM
Def cool, but... animals are so nice...

if it were me in their place, my first words to humanity would be a string of invective interspersed with deep, dark curses.

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 10:21 PM
World first?

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 10:39 PM
a reply to: dreamingawake

I’m not that shocked to hear that they can mimic our sounds, but i actually thought it would be more amazing than it was. It sounded more like vowels interspersed with fart noises. In fact it was mostly fart noises. And the recording was highly edited. We don’t know if the animal is making this noise in direct response to the human or if they were recorded at random times and edited in. I’m assuming that they used their best recordings.

edit on 31-1-2018 by Woodcarver because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 11:18 PM
My mom had a great dane that said "Maw Maw."

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 11:28 PM
Cute.....that is all we need, now the whales will teach each other and the other kinds of fish and someday a fish like Mr. Limput will be disturbing my peace and tranquility when I'm out fishing, talking up a storm without shutting up ever.

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 11:38 PM
a reply to: dreamingawake

I'm going to remain skeptical until you tell me who Amy is.

I'm sure the research is fine, (like that study to see if dolphins on '___' could communicate with interdimensional aliens,) and I don't question the intelligence of our aquatic mammal brethren,

but I wouldn't put it past stupid humans to think whales are talking to them. Hey, did you know Satan talks to us through Led Zeppelin records spun in reverse?

edit on 31-1-2018 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 31 2018 @ 11:45 PM
Feed a whale a fish, it'll say Hello.

But I don't think they taught the whale to speak. Just perform on command.

Had it just popped up one day and said "Hello there, could I bother you for something to eat? I'm famished! Oh and this tank is rather small, just saying." then we'd have something.

Blackfish comes to mind.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 02:38 AM
a reply to: dreamingawake

My cat used to imitate humans and birds.

He never fully learned how to meow though.

If you van imagine someone trying to "tweet" with a raspy voice. Mhwallwweeee.. gwall. Lovey eyes lovey eyes paw.

Meow pur.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 04:08 AM
a reply to: dreamingawake

Not so good, IMO.

It's good they are trying.

Not a lot of animals have the hardware to make human sounds.

The Orca has dental issues and a tongue the size of a volkswagen.

Not to mention more nasally than my friend Mike.

Is she taught this or is she doing it on her own? Never mind. Just read they were taught.

My pug grumbles a lot.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 07:08 AM
a reply to: dreamingawake

I'm not surprised-Killer whales aren't whales, they are closely related to dolphins and we all know how smart dolphins are.

When I was younger I heard the family dog say 'let me in' and fast forward to today when my cat enters the room it 'talks'- it's not just a single meow but a series of meows that change pitch and tempo and I jokingly say to it "you can't talk because your a pussycat" but I swear it tries to talk.

I guess it depends on the vocal chords.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 08:21 AM
What I thought was cool was the killer whale imitating the inflections in the voices. To me, that really illustrates the fact they were trying to mimic a sound they had just heard (regardless of how intelligible it was). It shows they heard the sound and were trying to imitate it.

Now some birds have done this for eons, but to me this is a little different. The birds are just reproducing a sound they heard. Here it seems the killer whales are actually trying to interact with the person making the sounds.


posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 09:39 AM
When is she getting a job and paying taxes?

Seriously though, very cool.

posted on Feb, 1 2018 @ 09:55 AM
We had an old Labrador who used to vocalize a lot. His favorite spot to lay was in the hallway obstructing the bathroom door. One day I was nudging him with my foot and asked him why he had to lay right there. He grumbled and I swear it sounded like he said, "I'm an old man". We all cracked up.

posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 05:21 AM
a reply to: Sillyolme

Another reason why spaying is a great idea, sure it keeps you up all night.

posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 05:23 AM
Nice replies, thanks all.

a reply to: NarcolepticBuddha

The Research link goes over who Amy is. She is the Orcas trainer is.
edit on 2-2-2018 by dreamingawake because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 05:46 AM
Interesting that a whale kept in France ends up speaking English, proving once and for all that English is the Universal Language.

To the OP. I am no fan of keeping such large and intelligent animals in captivity even if it proves whales, like some birds and other animals, can imitate and contextualise human speech.

posted on Feb, 2 2018 @ 06:04 AM
a reply to: paraphi

Same, I don't agree with it either and am eagerly awaiting rehabilitation areas that are being planned/built in the Puget Sound(where they were captured from as calves) for captive orcas that are slated to be released. Though, still not enough of retirement for them is happening-and not enough that makes much sense since many will remain captive but will not perform, and at the same time areas are even less safe for them to live in the wild.

At least the study displays their capability, indeed despite, Marineland Aquarium has the orcas performing.

Not universal language rather that it was probably chosen to help demonstrate it to others and that the orca was less familiar with English sought for their trials.

A related update is the FL bill to ban Orca breeding didn't make it through state legislature.

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