'Talking' killer whale mimics human words including 'hello'

File 20180130 107676

After first brushing up Wikie's grasp of the "copy" command, she was trained to parrot three familiar orca sounds made by her three-year old calf Moana. She was able to say words like "hello", "Amy", one, two, three and "bye bye". The phrases included "hello", "ah ha", "one, two", "Amy", and "bye, bye".

Another viewer said it reminded him of The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town, a sketch made famous in BBC comedy The Two Ronnies in 1976. Wikie is not the first animal to have this ability to mimic the human sound, alongside elephants, beluga whales, dolphins, parrots, and orangutans can also mimic the sounds of other creatures.

To determine whether an orca whale really could learn new vocalizations, Josep Call, professor in evolutionary origins of mind at the University of St Andrews and a co-author of the study, explained how the team chose human sounds, which are not already in the whale's repertoire. Humans obviously are good at it...

Orcas are phenomenally intelligent marine mammals which interact with peers in a complex social environment.

Scientists recently learned that Orcas are capable of mimicking human speech.

Trump Signs Order To Keep Prison At Guantanamo Bay Open
While the new directive does nothing to immediately resolve the legal quandary dating to the administration of President George W. US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep Guantanamo Bay military prison open, the BBC reports.

In a series of experiments, Wikie was able to recite human words like "hello", "one", "two" and "bye bye" as well as other unfamiliar whale sounds.

Scientists have hypothesized that these conditions are what led certain cetaceans to have vocal-learning skills relatively unique in the animal kingdom: they have above-average control of the sounds they make to accommodate these different water pressures.

The scientists wanted to understand how capable whales are of imitating noises, so they could understand how whales learn in their natural habitat. "Although the ability to copy sounds from conspecifics is widespread in birds, it is strikingly rare in mammals, and among primates it is uniquely human".

The killer whale was able to mimic the duration and pitch of human speech, coming close on three words to a "high-quality match".

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

Super Blue Blood Moon coming Jan. 31st
If you miss the 31 January lunar eclipse , then you'll have to wait nearly another year for the next opportunity in North America. Anyone who doesn't want to miss out can also watch NASA's live stream of the Super Blue Blood Moon from 10.30am in the UK.

"Machiavellian behaviour, making friends, belonging to groups, manipulating others and competing - you don't need hands for that", he said.

However, he said we have to be careful about imposing human concepts on animals.

To determine whether the original sounds and Wikie's versions matched, the researchers asked human judges to decide, and then ran computer algorithms to provide a more objective assessment of the similarities. Despite possessing a strikingly different morphology from humans, it can still produce sounds that are similar to those produced by another species, in this case, like us.

Wikie is a wild killer whale, or orca, which is part of the oceanic dolphins' family. After the release of the documentary "Blackfish", the keeping of killer whales in captivity has come under increasing scrutiny, and the park has faced criticism following deaths of some of its orcas.

"They have even been known to imitate bottlenose dolphins and sea lions", said Dr Abramson.

Daines, Gianforte react to Wynn donations and RNC resignation
Gonzalez said similarly that the Gaming Commission should make sure Wynn disassociates himself from the MA casino. RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel informed members Saturday she had accepted Wynn's resignation.

The findings were published online today (Jan. 30) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Harden's 60-point triple-double boosts Rockets past Magic
Feb 01, 2018 - 01:04
It was Harden's fourth 50-point game this season and ninth of his career. Harden had a heavy workload playing 46:26 of the 48 minutes. Houston coach Mike D'Antoni was thrilled with his display.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Facebook's user engagement dips on News Feed tweaks; shares fall
Feb 01, 2018 - 01:04
Facebook reported revenue of $12.97 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $12.5 billion and up 47% from the year-ago period. Neil Campling, co-head of the global thematic group at Mirabaud Securities Ltd., wrote in a note following the results.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Treasury accused of cribbing oligarchs record from Forbes
Feb 01, 2018 - 01:03
In related news, the State Department said Monday that it would not impose the Russian sanctions passed by Congress past year . The founder of the company, Eugene Kaspersky, who was also included in the 'Kremlin List, ' took to Twitter to discredit it.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Assassin's Creed Origins New Game+ Mode coming soon
Feb 01, 2018 - 01:00
Or is it still "under consideration?" Assassin's Creed: Origins is an exceptionally long video game. More information will be shared soon, according to that post.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nashville Predators bring back Mike Fisher as team makes playoff push
Feb 01, 2018 - 01:00
Predators general manager David Poile said Fisher will not return to being team captain, an honor that was given to defenseman Roman Josi .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top With out Wall, Wizards finish Thunder's successful streak 102-96
Feb 01, 2018 - 00:59
The other concern is that the team might drop so much that it'll have a nightmare matchup in the first round of the playoffs. As ESPN points out , Washington plays like the Celtics with Wall on the floor and like the Knicks with him off it.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Carrie Fisher wins posthumous Grammy
Jan 31, 2018 - 10:55
Fisher died December 27, 2016, four days after going into cardiac arest onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. Fisher's costar in the franchise Mark Hamill paid tribute to the iconic actress on the anniversary of her death.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kim Kardashian slams Lindsay Lohan's 'confusing' accent after actress criticized her cornrows
Jan 31, 2018 - 10:53
Like Bo's, her hair was braided in corn rows - prompting some to accuse her of cultural appropriation . Lindsay was not impressed, simply stating what we imagine everyone else was thinking: "I am confused".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top FCC releases preliminary report into Hawaii's false missile alert
Jan 31, 2018 - 10:53
At a recent commission hearing, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stressed the need for new safeguards to prevent further false alerts. The alert origination software then prompted the warning officer to confirm whether they wanted to send the message.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Steven Adams stars as Oklahoma City Thunder hold off Philadelphia Sixers
Jan 30, 2018 - 01:52
The jerseys and other The District themed gear are available for sale at the Capital One Arena Team Store and online here. John Wall missed the last game, which was a win over the Atlanta Hawks, but he expects to return for this game.

Brexit transition talks take place in Brussels
Jan 30, 2018 - 01:51
May was similarly glowing in her praise of what she called a "really special relationship between the U.K. and the United States". Did Davis Confirm Hammond's Position or Fudge? He added: "It's not exactly the same as membership but it is very, very similar".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Surakiart slams Richardson over attacks on Rakhine advisory board
Jan 30, 2018 - 01:50
The former diplomat affirmed that "the main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash", according to Al Jazeera.

Rosenstein Approved Surveillance Extension Of Former Trump Adviser
Jan 30, 2018 - 01:50
Rosenstein has been in charge of the Russian Federation investigation since Attorney General Jeff Session recused himself. Page told The Daily Caller last week that he "very much" hopes that the push to release the FISA memo will be successful.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Knicks exploring options to part with Joakim Noah
Jan 30, 2018 - 01:47
Waive :?The Knicks could choose to waive Noah, though they'd likely attempt to negotiate a buyout before exploring this option. The officially stated reason for Noah's absence from the Knicks' last two games was "personal reasons".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Apple's iPhone SE sequel reportedly won't be a big revamp
Jan 30, 2018 - 01:43
A leading Apple analyst says that Apple's resources may be stretched too thin to come out with a successor to its tiniest iPhone. Apple is said to be maintaining its existing production target of 30M units across the iPhone 7/Plus and 8/Plus ranges.