Shamu? Is that you?
A killer whale at a marine park in Antibes, France has fascinated the scientific community with its apparent ability to mimic human speech. The imitation of dialect is a rare ability among other species, and since this killer whale is the first of its kind to accomplish this, it could provide significant insight about whale intelligence and how they communicate.
Wikie, a 16-year-old female orca, has been taught by her trainer to “speak” several words and offer verbal responses to various cues. She has learned to say things like “hello” and “bye bye,” count to three, and blow “raspberries.”
“Killer whales use their blowhole to make noises, almost like speaking out of your nose, so we were not expecting it to be perfect,” Dr. Jose Abramson said to The Independent. “But we were surprised by how close it was.”
Abramson and other researches have spoken to a number of scientific journals, saying that not only will this information theoretically help whale conservation efforts, but it could lead to a breakthrough in communication with other creatures.
You can watch above, via the BBC.
[Image via screengrab]
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