Oceanographers have found a whale that can mimic the human voice

October 23, 2012 0:01

MOSCOW, Oct. 22 — RIA Novosti. American and Canadian marine scientists have found the white whale in the coastal waters of the Territory of California, able to imitate the sounds of the human voice, according to a paper published in the journal Current Biology.

"Our observations show that the whale had to change the principle of his vocal cords to produce sounds similar to human speech. Such apparent effort suggests that the whale would make contact with us, "- said the head of oceanographers Sam Ridgway (Sam Ridgway) of the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego (USA).

Ridgway and his colleagues followed the lives of several dolphins and white whales (Delphinapterus leucas), who lived in the aquarium near San Diego. Oceanographers regularly dive into the pool, studying the behavior and personality of its inhabitants. During one of those unexpected dive diver heard the command "emerge". When he surfaced and asked who told him to surface, his colleagues were surprised.

The authors speculated that the source of this team could be cetaceans residents pool. This very strange hypothesis was born due to the fact that since 1984 Ridgway and his colleagues began to notice a strange sound, reminiscent of a distant and very inarticulate dialogue between two people, the approach to the aquarium with dolphins and whales.

Biologists conducted a series of observations of specific basin inhabitants, and found that the source of the strange sounds was a young white whale named NOC. This whale with dolphins and several other white whales lived for seven years in the aquarium, which is often submerged divers and underwater communications system tested.

The researchers recorded the sounds that issued NOC, and analyzed them using computer programs, compared with the record of human speech. To the surprise of oceanographers, "trills" whales were more similar in structure to human speech than those sounds that whales use echolocation to and communicate with each other.

Thus, the typical frequency of the "speech» NOC were several octaves lower than the echolocation and social sounds of other whales and dolphins. Furthermore, the spectrum of sound recordings was almost identical to human speech, made up of many individual sound elements and not from the relatively simple echolocation "clicks" of whales.

"Record" trills "NOC were more similar to the sounds of the human voice, not the typical sounds of whales. The sounds we hear are a great argument in favor of the white whales have the ability to memorize new sounds "- said Ridgway.

As they note, this imitation of human speech is an extremely difficult task for the whales. In contrast to the human, the whales use their nose, not the vocal cords, for generating sounds. According to oceanographers, NOC had a special way to change the pressure inside of the nose and the blowhole, making the simulation of human speech is very non-trivial action.

Unfortunately, the experiment is unlikely to get repeat — NOC ceased to publish speech-like sounds after growing up. It is possible that these unusual results of the study will be the cause of fierce debate among biologists.

Like this post? Please share to your friends: