Squeak to me

    Orca, Schwertwal

    Is this an example of the classic British Dr Dolittle books come to life? Not quite, though a group of researchers did recently “speak” with an orca when they recorded its attemptVersuchattempts to say a few words in English. Listen to the recording below!

    You’ll hear a researcher saying “one, two, three” and “bye-bye”, and then the orca doing its best to imitate. According to Scientific American, the idea behind the study was to test the ability of this species to to mimicnachahmenmimic sounds. Carried out with a captivegefangencaptive orca at a Marineland aquarium in southern France, the experiment showed researchers that killer whales, known for having sophisticatedkomplexsophisticated “dialects”, are good at reproducing even sounds that are unfamiliar to them. For orcas, the report says, new sounds “can be socially learned by imitation”. The full findings may be read in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.


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