Scientists have identified a beluga whale capable of producing eerily human-like vocalizations.
The abilities of a whale named 'Noc' were first observed in 1984 at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego when scientists reported hearing sounds coming from the whale and dolphin area that sounded like two people talking in the distance. They were able to pinpoint the source of the voices further when one diver surfaced from a dive believing that someone had told him to do so when in fact what he'd heard was Noc saying the word "out".
It is believed that Noc picked up human speech after hearing people talking both at the surface and over an intercom designed to talk to divers. Scientists proceeded to conduct further experiments by encouraging Noc to speak and rewarding him with treats when he did so. "We were amazed — the voiceprint really reminded us of humanlike sounds and unlike normal whale sounds," said researcher Sam Ridgway.
"Noc's speechlike sounds subsided after about four years, after he matured."
View: Full article | Source: Live Science
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