A 16-Year-Old Female Orca Imitates Human Speech

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A 16-year-old female orca imitates human speech. Wikie, a killer whale at a marine park in Antibes mimicked human speech.

This female orca learned how to say “hello,” “one, two, three” “Amy,” and “bye bye.” This 16-year-old female orca imitates human sound.

The creatures already have the ability to copy the movements of other orcas and now this new research reveals that the creatures can also emulate unknown sounds produced by other orcas. They can mimic the sound of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.

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

Dr. Jose Abramson led a scientific study on Wikie said that killer whales make noises using their blowhole. 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.

Abramson said that in the future, Wikie may also hold basic conversations.

During the research study, Wikie was trained to become familiar with unknown sounds.  Her two trainers judged her success and then confirmed the final conclusion.

“One of the main things that fired the evolution of human intelligence is the ability to have social learning, to imitate, and to have culture,” said Abramson. “So if you find that other species have also the capacity for social learning, and of complex social learning that could be imitation or teaching, you expect a lot of flexibility in that species,” he added.

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Apurva Nagare
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