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October 22 2012
A captive white whale that made unusual mumbling sounds when he was in the presence of people may have been trying to mimic his human companions, scientists have found.
An acoustic analysis of the sounds made by a beluga whale called NOC has revealed remarkable similarities to human speech patterns, indicating that the whale was trying to “reach out” to his human captors, scientists believe.
Although there are anecdotal accounts of whales sounding like “ children shouting from a distance”, this is the first time that scientists have produced hard evidence that they are capable of trying to imitate human speech.
One of the first indications that NOC was able to sound like a human was when a diver swimming alongside him in his pen came to the surface and asked his colleagues “who told me to get out”?
Note: See here to hear an audio sample.
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