The whales are mocking us

Beluga whale ‘makes human-like sounds’.

Researchers in the US have been shocked to discover a beluga whale whose vocalisations were remarkably close to human speech.

While dolphins have been taught to mimic the pattern and durations of sounds in human speech, no animal has spontaneously tried such mimicry.

But researchers heard a nine-year-old whale named NOC make sounds octaves below normal, in clipped bursts.

They found that vocal bursts averaged about three per second, with pauses reminiscent of human speech. Analysis of the recordings showed that the frequencies within them were spread out into “harmonics” in a way very unlike whales’ normal vocalisations and more like those of humans.

So, when do they take over the world? Just look at this innocent smiling face.

Here is more on this story of whale sounds:

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  10 comments for “The whales are mocking us

  1. Gary
    October 22, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    I could just make out, “So long and thanks….”

  2. RayG
    October 22, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Sounded like Rob Brydon doing his “man in a box” voice. “So long and thanks for all the fish

  3. One Eyed Jack
    October 23, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    “so long and thanks for all the fish”? Those were dolphins, not whales.

    What is needed here is a Star Trek IV reference:

    Lady in tour: [seeing Spock mind-melding with George the whale] “Maybe he’s singing to that man.”

    Keep your geek references correct or turn in your membership card at the door. ;)

    • October 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Dolphins and whales are same Order Cetacea, closely related.

      • One Eyed Jack
        October 23, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        The Order of Pendants rejects your equivocation.

        Douglass Adams clearly mentions dolphins where gratitude was expressed for piscine gifts.

        Had a reference instead been made to the strangely parallel and short-lived lives of sky-diving petunias and sperm whales, we would have at least been in the ball park. However, as the topic at hand is whale singing (Adams’s whale was most certainly not singing as it fell, though the wind did whistle as it passed. That was, of course, the wind whistling and not the whale, which even if it was, is not singing; so let’s try to stay on track) and nothing to do with petunias, I maintain that a Star Trek IV reference is more true to the endless attention to completely useless minutiae that exemplifies a true geek.

        Q.E.D.

        • Gary
          October 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM

          It was a whale mocking a dolphin.

    • RayG
      October 23, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      Okay, so it was Rob Brydon doing his man in a box voice of a Beluga whale doing an impression of a dolphin…

  4. Meg
    October 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    This is cool.

    I wonder how long it will be before “dolphin whisperers” will emerge that claim to understand what these creatures are saying?

    • October 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      Why does the world keep getting closer and closer to Scooby Doo episodes…?

      • One Eyed Jack
        October 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        I admit to talking to my dog in Scooby Doo speak as a child. She would tilt her head, perk her ears, and I know what she was thinking… “dude, what’s with the accent? I understand English just fine.”

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