New research reveals Orca’s are really good at imitating human speech. Buzz60’s Sam Berman has the full story.
Researchers recently found that a female killer whale could copy the phrases “hello,” “bye-bye,” “Amy,” and “one, two, three.” The orca could also imitate a wolf’s howl, an elephant’s trumpeting, and the sounds of a creaking door and a “raspberry.” And she reproduced the new sounds quickly, some within the first attempt.
Orcas are known to communicate amongst themselves using an array of sounds, and the animals have even demonstrated “dialects” — variations in communication signals that are specific to certain groups of the animals — the scientists reported in a new study. The findings suggest that a captive whale’s ability to deftly mimic unfamiliar noises hints that imitation likely plays an important role in building orcas’ unique “vocal traditions.”
“The intricacy of killer whale communication reflects their complex social structure and mental comprehension,” Rachael Griffin, a biologist with Aquagreen Marine Research in Victoria, British Columbia, told Live Science in an email. Griffin was not involved in the recent study.