Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Orcas Can Say 'Hello', 'Bye-Bye' and 'One-Two-Three'

Wikie  a 16-year-old female orca in a French marine theme park is able to copy words such as ‘hello’ ‘bye bye’ and ‘Amy’ as well as count to three. The sounds emerge as parrot-like squawks shrill whistles or raspberries but most Captive killer whale named Wikie has been 'taught to speak human words through her blowhole'
Frank Williams | 31 January, 2018, 16:00

This female orca learned how to say "hello", "one, two, three" "Amy", and "bye bye".

"Killer whales use their blowhole to make noises, nearly like speaking out of your nose, so we were not expecting it to be perfect", said lead researcher Dr Jose Abramson from the Complutense University of Madrid.

The scientist who led the study said it was conceivable that basic "conversations" with her may one day be possible.

"But you have to be careful about imposing our human concepts on animals".

"That is what makes it even more impressive - even though the morphology [of orcas] is so different, they can still produce a sound that comes close to what another species, in this case us, can produce", said Call.

Scientists say the discovery helps to shed light on how different pods of wild killer whales have ended up with distinct dialects, adding weight to the idea that they are the result of imitation between orcas.

She did three on the first attempt, and most during the first 10 trials.

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Researchers did not set out to test Wikie's communication skills.

Wikie (R), a killer whale, swims with her calf in Marineland aquatic park in Antibes, southeastern France, 12 December 2013.

She made these sounds while partially submerged, with her blowhole - the human equivalent of a nose - exposed to the air.

She can be heard in recordings mimicking words such as "hello", "one, two, three", and "bye, bye".

According to the report, killer whale lives in groups in the open ocean and they develop their own dialects.

Dr Abramson said: "In human intelligence, cultural and social learning aspects are very important".

"Researchers have first time scientifically demonstrated the orcas, which are usually known as 'killer whales".

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