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Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in Science |

NOC: the first whale able to imitate the human voice

Something totally unusual perspective changes that had so far in the ability of these animals. U.S. researchers found that a beluga whale had the ability to vocalize in a manner similar to the human voice . NOC, a whale of nine years with the ability to mimic human speech spontaneously.

An amazing find coming from the National Marine Mammal Foundation, a milestone when you consider that no animal has shown that mimicry spontaneously. Eg dolphins have learned to imitate patterns, but not spontaneously.

NOC was a whale Delphinapterus leudas family. One whale died as he lived for 30 years in the Foundation facilities in California. An animal, the first of its kind, which made life a vocal learning in a totally spontaneous to make sounds similar to humans, according to biologists, a form of contact with caregivers in the facility. According to the researcher Sam Ridgway has in the recent publication:

Studies suggest that NOC had to change his mechanics to get their vowel sounds were like humans.

And is that whales are known to make sounds very different from ours. Some previous studies had suggested the possibility that the animals emit something like whispers or distorted vocals, but had never gotten proof seems spontaneous learning note to contact.

The story would begin in 1984, when researchers heard sounds that seemed human conversations in the distance. Soon a diver who was in the whale tank surfaced thinking someone outside asked him to leave. Nobody had indicated such action, on the contrary, it was found that NOC, one of the whales that were in the room and she was accustomed to human contact. A very similar sound to “out” he repeated as many times had the diver.

They began to investigate and record the sounds of NOC and proved that the whale had a cadence and rhythm similar to the human voice, with much lower octaves than the rest of whales and dolphins. According Ridgway:

It was the first clear example of vocal learning. The whales emit their sounds through your nasal tract and the larynx like humans. To emulate our sounds NOC had to modify the nasal tract pressure while you adapt to your muscles and vestibular sac in his nostrils.

Although NOC died five years ago, today we can hear the sound recorded during investigations, the first example of vocal learning by the white whale.