Beluga whales can mimic the human voice

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  • Scientists study the case of a whale called NOC, now deceased, but whose recordings reveal that he could imitate speech.
  • The investigation began in 1984 when scientists began to notice some unusual sounds in the grounds of the whales.

For the first time, a team of researchers has shown, using acoustic analysis , the whales, or at least a very special white whale beluga variety, can imitate the voices of human beings.

The observations suggest that the studied whale had to modify its mechanical voice to imitate speech sounds, “said the author of the study, published in Current Biology , Sam Ridgway.

The whale had to modify their anatomy Ridgway As indicated, t he investigation began in 1984 when scientists began to notice some unusual sounds in the grounds of the whales . As described them, sounded like two people talking in the distance. These sounds came from a white whale named NOC , who had lived among dolphins and beluga whales, and had been many times in the presence of humans.

Ridgway’s team recorded the sounds of the whale, which revealed similar rhythms and the human voice frequencies several octaves lower than the typical sounds of whales , much closer to the human voice.

To perform like sounds emitted by the human, NOC had to vary the pressure in the nasal tract and make other adjustments muscle and vestibular inflate the bag in his nostril. Unfortunately, after 30 years at the National Marine Mammal Foundation, NOC died five years ago, but the sound of his voice is still alive.

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