Research

Wikie the orca learns to say 'hello' and 'bye bye'

Wikie the orca learns to say 'hello' and 'bye bye'

Wikie, a captured killer whale, just became the first orca that can mimic words in English. According to the research team, the discovery of orcas can say "hello", "bye-bye" and "one-two-three' is helpful in studying different pods of savage killer whales that ended up with specific dialects, focusing on the idea that they can be the result of replica between orcas".

A high-pitched and eerie voice uttering the name "Amy" is quite clear in the audio released by the study's researchers.

However, the killer whale is impressive in reproducing the sounds, even though an orca's vocal anatomy is different from that of humans.

The ability to learn language is unusual among mammals; only humans, dolphins and whales can mimic sounds from other species, although birds, like parrots and some crows can copy human sounds, and it's a sign of intelligence, researchers said, according to the BBC. Call said that they wanted to see how flexible a killer whale can be in copying sounds.

She "spoke" while partially immersed in water with her blowhole ex- posed and is believed to be the first orca to do so.




A new experiment was carried out in which Wikie was trained in a way that she could understand the signal when she had to mimic and her trainer invited and gave her 11 new sounds like howling of a wolf, elephant call and a creaking door.

A killer whale has been taught by scientists to copy human speech.

We found that the subject made recognizable copies of all familiar and novel conspecific and human sounds tested and did so relatively quickly (most during the first 10 trials and three in the first attempt). She can also say "Amy" (her trainer) and "one, two, three".

"Yes, it's conceivable ... if you have labels, descriptions of what things are", he said. She didn't always make ideal copies - as you can hear in the audio above - but the sounds were still recognizable, both by blinded independent assessors and by sound file analysis.

Remarkably, field observations of killer whales have documented the existence of group-differentiated vocal dialects that are often referred to as traditions or cultures and are hypothesized to be acquired non-genetically. The researchers ensured the sounds were indeed unfamiliar to Wikie by recording 28 hours of in-air spontaneous sounds produced by the Wikie and her calf during their free time and identifying any vocalized sounds that may be similar to the study sample sounds. They can mimic the sound of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions.