Tags: orca | human | words | hello | bye-bye

Orca's Human Words Include Hello, Bye-Bye

(YouTube/Washington Post)

By    |   Thursday, 01 February 2018 07:12 AM

An orca has learned human words such has "hello" and "bye-bye," researchers said after a study of killer whale communications showed a 14-year-old female orca at a French aquarium could mimic such utterances.

The international research team said the findings will help them understand how various pods of wild killer whales have developed distinct dialects, The Guardian reported, since the whales are known to be able to copy movements of other orcas and can also mimic the sounds of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.

The female whale learned the words, "hello," “bye bye," "Amy," and "one, two, three" by copying a trainer at the Marineland Aquarium in Antibes, France, said a release from the University of St. Andrews in the U.K.

The researchers pointed out, though, according to CNN, there were no indications the whale actually comprehended the words it was mimicking.

"The killer whale that we studied in captivity was capable of learning vocalizations of other killer whales and also human vocalizations by imitating them," said study co-author Josep Call of St. Andrews' School of Psychology and Neuroscience.

"Therefore this result suggests this is also a plausible explanation for how killer whales in the wild learn the vocalizations of other killer whales and how they develop and transmit their dialects."

"(The research) was not about establishing a two-way communication between killer whales and humans... I doubt it sincerely," Call said, per CNN. "We have no evidence that (the orca) thinks she is greeting someone in the morning and saying 'hello.'"

Scientists from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Chile detailed their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

"Remarkably, field observations of killer whales have documented the existence of group-differentiated vocal dialects that are often referred to as traditions or cultures and are hypothesized to be acquired non-genetically," the researchers said in the study.

"Here we use a do-as-I-do paradigm to study the abilities of a killer whale to imitate novel sounds uttered by conspecific (vocal imitative learning) and human models (vocal mimicry). We found that the subject made recognizable copies of all familiar and novel conspecific and human sounds tested and did so relatively quickly (most during the first 10 trials and three in the first attempt)."

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An orca has learned human words such has "hello" and "bye-bye," researchers said after a study of killer whale communications showed a 14-year-old female orca at a French aquarium could mimic such utterances.
orca, human, words, hello, bye-bye
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2018-12-01
Thursday, 01 February 2018 07:12 AM
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