Navigation Links
A whale with a distinctly human-like voice
Date:10/25/2012

AUDIO: This audio clip captures the unusual speech-like sounds from white whale NOC. See supplemental information for more data.

Click here for more information.

For the first time, researchers have been able to show by acoustic analysis that whalesor at least one very special white whalecan imitate the voices of humans. That's a surprise, because whales typically produce sounds in a manner that is wholly different from humans, say researchers who report their findings in the October 23 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

"Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds," said Sam Ridgway of the National Marine Mammal Foundation. "Such obvious effort suggests motivation for contact."

It all started in 1984 when Ridgway and others began to notice some unusual sounds in the vicinity of the whale and dolphin enclosure. As they describe it, it sounded as though two people were conversing in the distance, just out of range of their understanding.

Those unusually familiar sounds were traced back to one white whale in particular only some time later when a diver surfaced from the whale enclosure to ask his colleagues an odd question: "Who told me to get out?"

They deduced that those utterances came from a most surprising source: a white whale by the name of NOC. That whale had lived among dolphins and other white whales and had often been in the presence of humans.

In fact, there had been other anecdotal reports of whales sounding like humans before, but in this case Ridgway's team wanted to capture some real evidence. They recorded the whale's sounds to reveal a rhythm similar to human speech and fundamental frequencies several octaves lower than typical whale sounds, much closer to that of the human voice.

"Whale voice prints were similar to human voice and unlike the whale's usual sounds," Ridgway said. "The sounds we heard were clearly an example of vocal learning by the white whale."

That's all the more remarkable because whales make sounds via their nasal tract, not in the larynx as humans do. To make those human-like sounds, NOC had to vary the pressure in his nasal tract while making other muscular adjustments and inflating the vestibular sac in his blowhole, the researchers found. In other words, it wasn't easy.

Sadly, after 30 years at the National Marine Mammal Foundation, NOC passed away five years ago. But the sound of his voice lives on.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elisabeth (Lisa) Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity
2. Giant squids giant eyes: The better to see hungry whales with
3. Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
4. How to make high-end perfumes without whale barf
5. New iPad, iPhone app helps mariners avoid endangered right whales
6. Study amplifies understanding of hearing in baleen whales
7. Whale population size, dynamics determined based on ancient DNA
8. A whale of a discovery: New sensory organ found in rorqual whales
9. Scientists discover a new sensory organ in the chin of baleen whales
10. Killer whale at risk due to inadequate prey population
11. First paternity study of southern right whales finds local fathers most successful
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... Who risk to be deprived of its ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4313699/ WILL APPLE AND SAMSUNG ... Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a fast growing ... forecasts an increase of 360% of the number of ... fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 (source : ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... BARCELONA , Spanien, 27. Februar 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... durch Iris-Scan, wird seine erstklassige biometrische Lösung ... Snapdragon™ 835 mit X16 LTE auf dem ... 2. März) am Qualcomm-Stand in Halle 3, ... 835-Prozessor beinhaltet die Sicherheitsplattform Qualcomm Haven™ – ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, ... study that will apply the power of IBM cognitive ... and health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors ... into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... Colo. , March 23, 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. ... agreement for the sale of 12,835,490 shares of its ... NantWorks  ecosystem of companies. In connection with the sale of ... $100,000 in cash and issue to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, ... stock. "We are pleased to enter ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Ellen Matloff, ... Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 Women of Innovation® finalist. Matloff will ... Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes women accomplished in science, technology, engineering ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... YORK , March 23, 2017 ... ... of death, putting significant strain on health care systems, in ... cancer diagnoses rises, so too does the development of innovative ... minimum side effects. Among the many types of cancer treatments, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017  Agriculture technology company Cool Planet ... and note conversion to commercialize its Cool Terra and ... on developing products that are simultaneously profitable as well ... the last 18 months. This latest round of funding ... Partners. The company,s primary product, Cool ...
Breaking Biology Technology: