Killer whale reported to imitate human speech

Whales learn in families.     Shutterstock

The experiments were carried out at Marineland Aquarium in southern France, which faced criticism in 2015 after one its killer whales died during flooding.

High-pitched, eerie and yet distinct, the sound of a voice calling the name "Amy" is unmistakable.

Human sounds were thought to be suitably distant from the killer whale's usual repertoire of noises that they would provide a more advanced test of her ability to imitate.

Whales are among the few animals other than humans that can learn to produce a sound just by hearing it.

Her vocabulary only includes a handful of words, but with them, an orca at a French marine facility is proving that cetaceans can be taught how to pronounce specific sounds with their blowholes.

Wikie first showcased her knack for mimicry by copying the movements of other orcas, as directed by human hand gestures.

The non-human sounds included a strong raspberry, a breathy raspberry, and a creaking door.

Feds Drop Corruption Case Against Senator Menendez
That appeared to be a turning point for federal prosecutors, even though Walls left the rest of the government's case intact. After last fall's trial ended, one juror told reporters the jury was split 10-2 on all counts in favor of acquittal.

Ireland to hold abortion referendum at the end of May
Online, people have rallied around #repealthe8th , a reference to the Article that could be repealed. Varadkar's decision received support from National Women's Council of Ireland .

Man charged over triple loss of life crash
He and his friend, Amamdeep Matharoo, 27, pulled over and Mr Webb said: "I said "can you stop that, we're going to call 999". The 28-year-old was detained by members of the public before the police arrived, according to witnesses.

The researchers set out to find out whether killer whales could learn new vocalisations by imitating others.

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

"Yes, it's conceivable ... if you have labels, descriptions of what things are", he said.

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. They can mimic the sound of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. This 16-year-old female orca imitates human sound. She successfully reproduced some sounds - such as the phrases "hello" and "one, two, three" - on her first attempt.

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 charity's director Elisa Allen told Sky News: "How deeply ironic that this research, which speaks volumes of the emotional intelligence of orcas, was conducted in a marine park's cement cell, where they're imprisoned and denied everything that's natural and important to them in order to make money from tourists". The researchers ensured the sounds were indeed unfamiliar to Wikie by recording 28 hours of in-air spontaneous sounds produced by the Wikie and her calf during their free time and identifying any vocalized sounds that may be similar to the study sample sounds.


  • Documents: Second person of interest was identified in Vegas massacre

    Documents: Second person of interest was identified in Vegas massacre

    The company sold tracer and incendiary rounds - ones that blow up on impact - for a range of sizes, according to its website. A man identified in court documents as a "person of interest" after the Las Vegas massacre says he didn't know the gunman.
    U.S.  to Increase Pressure on African Nations Trading with North Korea

    U.S. to Increase Pressure on African Nations Trading with North Korea

    The North late Monday had scrapped a joint cultural event in the North, citing unspecified negative media reports in the South. North Korea will be wiped off the world map should it use nuclear weapons on South Korea or the United States.
    Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) Gaining Traction, Up 3.89% For The Week

    Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) Gaining Traction, Up 3.89% For The Week

    Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT ) closed up +10.18 points or 3.04% at $344.9 with 2.05 mln shares exchanging hands. RBC Capital Markets maintained Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT ) on Wednesday, November 15 with "Hold" rating.
  • Younkers to close at Fox River Mall

    Younkers to close at Fox River Mall

    Long-time shoppers of this Bon-Ton say they aren't surprised to hear it will soon close, but they are sad to see it go. Penney - that remained in business after Frew Development Group took over the property.
    'Halloween' Filming Begins as First Set Photo Released

    'Halloween' Filming Begins as First Set Photo Released

    Green (" Goat ", " Our Brand Is Crisis ") is directing the movie from the script which he wrote with the help of Danny McBride . Though that wasn't true, she was killed off in Halloween: Resurrection, which debuted back in 2002. "Same slate.
    Cavaliers Status Update on Kevin Love

    Cavaliers Status Update on Kevin Love

    Love specifically suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand. The injury will force to Love to miss the All-Star game for the second straight year.
  • European Union  not to strengthen sanctions after release of US 'Kremlin List'

    European Union not to strengthen sanctions after release of US 'Kremlin List'

    Investigations continue into Moscow's efforts to influence the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win. The act was adopted in August previous year and imposed sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
    Google COMPLETES $1.1 Billion HTC Acquisition

    Google COMPLETES $1.1 Billion HTC Acquisition

    The HTC deal is also bad news for manufacturers of phones based on Google's Android operating system. And Google needs all the expertise it can get as well.
    CEO of surfing brand Quiksilver missing off French coast

    CEO of surfing brand Quiksilver missing off French coast

    Agnes recently oversaw a deal that brought Quiksilver together with rival surf brand Billabong under the Boardriders umbrella. Surf legend Kelly Slater posted a tribute to Mr Agnes on Wednesday, saying he is " praying for a miracle " he is found alive.
  • Agent reveals club secret over failed Daley Blind deal

    Agent reveals club secret over failed Daley Blind deal

    However, for Blind, whose contract runs out next summer, time appears to be up, although a transfer to Roma appears to be hard . He was an immediate hit for United, with his intelligent play seeing him establish himself in a defensive midfield role.
    EasyJet CEO Takes Wage Cut To Promote Equal Pay

    EasyJet CEO Takes Wage Cut To Promote Equal Pay

    EasyJet has pledged to address the gap in its own ranks by recruiting more female pilots - up to 20 percent by 2020. Three years ago easyJet launched its Amy Johnson Initiative to encourage more women to enter the pilot profession.
    White House aide: Trump wants memo released for 'transparency'

    White House aide: Trump wants memo released for 'transparency'

    Mueller is the flawless guy to get to the bottom of all this, and he will". Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC's "This Week", adding that "Mr.


Latest news

What did Michigan State know about Larry Nassar's abuse?
Izzo is not scheduled to face the media again until after Wednesday's game in East Lansing against Penn State. The eight board members are elected in statewide votes and serve eight-year terms.

Sochi congress agrees to set up Syrian constitutional commission
Representatives from various countries and global organizations were also invited as observers of the congress. Russia, Iran and Turkey, guarantors of a Syrian cease-fire regime, were organizers of the congress.

Pyongyang cancels inter-Korean event over media 'bias'
November 7, 2017 - The POC announces that the 13 sporting venues are now 99.7% completed. Bach will tour the competition venues and Olympic Villages.

China denies bugging African Union headquarters it built in Ethiopia
Kagame said his only concern was that the AU - not China - should have built its headquarters, according to Reuters. However, the Chinese mission to the AU did not respond to Le Monde's request for comment.

At least 3 killed in helicopter crash into California home
The crash site is roughly a mile away from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, according to CBS News. The crash was reported around 1:45 the area of Egret Court, about a block from the beach.

Blackstone in 'advanced talks' to buy $17bn stake in Thomson Reuters unit
In 2016, it off-loaded its intellectual property and science division to Onex and Baring Private Equity Asia for $3.55bn. Thomson Reuters would hold on to its global news service, Reuters, along with its Legal and Tax and Accounting divisions.

E-cigarettes could raise risk of cancer and heart disease, warn scientists
The researchers exposed the animals to e-cigarette vapors that contain both nicotine and a liquid solvent. There was also conclusive evidence that e-cigarettes can explode and cause burns and projectile injuries.

Blockbuster! Chiefs reportedly agree to trade QB Smith to Redskins
Reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Washington Redskins have traded for QB Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs . At 33 years old, Smith has shown no signs of decline, but he's on a contract that expires after next season.

Huge emotional support peacock not allowed on flight
A United Airlines spokesperson, however, claimed that the woman had been warned that her peacock would not be allowed on board. Beginning March 1, the airline will require passengers with service animals to submit paperwork two full days before flying.

Netanyahu heads to Moscow to warn about Iran in Lebanon
Netanyahu, who had arrived in Moscow earlier Monday, had three separate meetings, spending several hours with the Russian president.

Melania Trump 'Furious' Over Husband's Alleged Affair With Adult Star
The recent revelations about Stormy Daniels led to speculation about First Lady Melania Trump's reaction. Over the weekend, Grisham again addressed the various rumors on Twitter .

Facebook introduces increased privacy settings ahead of strict European Union law
And national regulators will be able to issue fines if companies collect personal data without consent or misuse personal data. All privacy settings will be in one place, said Facebook, which also published a set of privacy "principles".

Government has contained inflation: President
The President also said India has been the first responder in natural disasters and humanitarian crisis in the sub-continent. He also underlined ambitious government target of connecting each village in India to motorable roads by 2019.

Street Fighter's Ryu And Sakura Will Be Joining Monster Hunter
Monster Hunter: World is the latest entry in the series and is the first new Monster Hunter title for home consoles in nine years. Capcom has issued a press release announcing that Monster Hunter World has shipped five million units as of January 28, 2018.

Elon Musk sells US$5M in flamethrowers to fund tunnel company
In addition to the flamethrower, a Boring Company fire extinguisher can be added on to the pre-order for $30 more. From his initial announcement post, Elon Musk revealed that 20,000 flamethrowers were available to purchase.

Other news