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Natural World

Killer whale learns to say 'hello' and 'bye'

January 31, 2018 | Comment icon 9 comments



Killer whales possess the ability to mimic human speech. Image Credit: NOAA
A 14-year-old orca named Wikie has succeeded in imitating some of the words spoken by her trainer.
The impressive feat was achieved by first teaching the animal a hand signal meaning 'copy this' and then presenting her with a series of sounds for her to duplicate.

For the study, the researchers used six phrases spoken by a trainer ( such as 'hello' and '1 2 3' ), as well as five sounds made by other orcas.

Wikie succeeded in learning several of the words straight away, although others took up to 17 tries.

Some examples of the phrases she managed to learn can be heard in the video below.



Source: Science Magazine | Comments (9)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by DirtyDocMartens 4 years ago
That's one of the most hilarious things I've ever heard.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Grandpa Greenman 4 years ago
Are they sure they aren't saying, F'U and let me out of this fishtank.  If they teach them our language and they ask for their freedom will they be let go?  
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
First the animal rights groups will need to prove the orcas are sentient.  Once having accomplished this feat, they'll more on to other sea mammals that can mimic human speech.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Farmer77 4 years ago
Science is moving very quickly in that direction, no need for it to be cute mammals either.  Are Plants Entering the Realm of the Sentient?  Its been very fun watching the vegan's reactions to this.   
Comment icon #5 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
When confronted by a vegan I always ask, "What makes you think you live above the laws of nature?" Then I explain to them that we evolved as a omnivorous hominid who has a symbiotic relationship with a microbiom that needs the chemicals found only in meats and dairy (dairy in Europeans). Then I explain to them that they compromised their immune, digestive and skeletal systems.
Comment icon #6 Posted by seeder 4 years ago
  wasnt there a jokey saying allegedly from Indians..... who said:    "Vegetarian - that's an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter"   
Comment icon #7 Posted by Hankenhunter 4 years ago
After seeing it on utube, I taught one of my dogs to say "mamma" and a half assed " I love you". She's always vocalizing anyway so I thought why not? Creeps out the neighbors though, heh. Animals can be very clever when food is involved. Hank
Comment icon #8 Posted by preacherman76 4 years ago
Watching these animals still in captivity makes me sick. Free Willy.
Comment icon #9 Posted by MissJatti 4 years ago
all i heard was farty replies and screetchy voices


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