Talking Belugas

I thought I’d get away from even thinking about election stuff for a bit.  An article from the huffingtonpost, (not something that I usually go out of my way to read) was forwarded to me.  It was a science story, about a captive beluga whale who has taught himself to mimic human speech.

There were several pictures and a video of the “talking” whale, whose name was Noc.  (Noc died about 5 years ago, after spending 30 years in captivity at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in California).  Noc’s sounds were not easily understandable, but they did have a distinctly humanlike rhythm and flow, a sing-song speech pattern.  To me, they sounded rather like hearing a conversation from another room where the words are not clear, or someone singing offkey to themselves from far away.  They were not the clicks and whistles of natural whale noise.  Subsequent studies indicated that, with considerable time and effort, Noc was speaking by varying the pressure in his nasal cavities, from one side to the other, at the surface of the pool.

This was a clear indication, scientists at the NMMF say, after a couple years of testing and study, of Noc deliberately modifying his vocal mechanics to imitate the speech his human trainers.  Other whale trainers at other facilities have also reported similar stories. And what did Noc first say to his keeper, while swimming with him in the whale tank?  I think the answer is telling:  Noc told him to “Get Out”.

About reinkat

I am an iconographer, and have been studying Russian/Greek icons since 1995. I'm married with 3 children. I love hiking, camping, animals, my family and church--and icons.
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2 Responses to Talking Belugas

  1. Biltrix says:

    Wow! This is pretty interesting. I need to check out that article and see the videos. Do you have a link to the article?

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