From Dr. Doolittle to Jane Goodall, human-animal communication has occupied our thoughts both in fiction and in reality. Dogs recognize their names when they are called; researchers have successfully taught primates to communicate in sign language; and the famed African gray parrot, Alex, built a vocabulary of over 100 English words out of which he learned to form cogent sentences. All of these examples show humans reaching out to communicate with animals, but what happens when animals try to speak with us?
For the first time researchers have released a recording of the spontaneous impersonation of human speech out of the mouth. . . or spout of a beluga whale. The unexpected speaker was a cetacean (the scientific name for beluga whales) named NOC, residing in San Diego, California at the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program. After seven years under the care of researchers in the program, NOC began to produce vocalizations that sounded remarkably similar to human speech, but unlike dolphins or marine mammals in similar programs, NOC was never trained to do so.
Sam Ridgway, president of the National Marine Mammal Foundation, released a paper in Current Biology Magazine describing the odd mechanics NOC had to master in order to produce such human-like sounds. By applying pressure sensors to detect vibrations in NOC’s nasal passages, Ridgway concluded that NOC was using a structure that appears in dolphins and some whales known as “phonic lips.” The cetacean controlled this unlikely organ to mitigate the flow of sound out of his nasal cavity (the blowhole on top of his head) in the same way humans control their vocal chords.
Though NOC sadly passed away in 1999, his voice lives on in the recordings that have inspired this exciting new development in human-animal communication.
Give it a listen. What do you think NOC is saying?
i’v always dreamed of talking animals. this is truly amazing.
That animal is amazingly smart.
That is really cool. Is there a video about this whale?
omg that is so cute also omg because how could an animal talk whaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo?
He spoke that he loves the people and he wants to play with you, and he invited you in water with him; he speaks simple like a child.
Thats so cool!! it would be better if it was a dolphin. But its still so cool!!
Wow impresive. Next thing you know dolphins will be in congress
Neat, but I want to see of a vid before I believe this.
This is very cool
Hannah their is a video check out the Today’s show website. They had a special on it.
i wish elephants and apricots could talk but that is awsome and cutelove talking whales!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AWWW!!! This is so cute!!!!
Yes, this is amazing. Very amazing. However, no matter how well trained or how intelligent an animal is, it will never be able to communicate like a human being can. Our languages are simply too complex.
I have listened to the recording and must comment that the sound seems more like singing lyrics than speaking words. When words are spoken, presumably by humans, there is breath function called the glottal stop which automatically differentiates the ending of one word from the beginning of the next word. People do this without even realizing it. Conscious effort is one of the hallmarks of what we term, “public speaking.” It allows the listener in public or private exchanges to follow the word stream. NOC lacks any discernible glottal stop, which is one hallmark of singing. Terriffically interesting article.
its just like the audio on ghost hunters complete bs and just random noise
I would think it’s saying that it’s hungry for some fish
This is awesome but I think they need more research on “language.” The dolphin seems communicate but his utterance doesn’t have syntax. I think its reactions or responding to actions or phenomenon, not communicate.
A number of clarifications need to be made so that people don’t start thinking this whale actually communicated in a human language. Firstly, the whale did not make sounds as words but was able to alter its expalation of air to make sounds approaching that range of sound that could make words, it did not speak at all, much les like a child. This wa sonly foud out aftet the wahla ewas long dead and someone started changing frequencies on the audio tape. Aldso, the article states: cetacean (the scientific name for beluga whales) but this is not correct. Cetacean is the scientific name for a family of marine mammals including whales and dolphins, not just beluga whales.
WOW! That is soooooo cool! I love dolphins! They’re my favourite animal and being able to speak to them! Lost for words!
Me too, I really want to communicating with animals ,it is amazing!
I hope that his grammar is better than the subscribers.
There is a specially developed part of the human brain which animals do not have that deals with speech.. Does this whale have that?
“If a lion could speak, we could not understand him.”
This sounds like the vocalization “practice” parrots do as they are learning to speak. Parrots will do this same sort of sing-song mumble of sounds and words. And as mentioned in the article, parrots have the ability to do more than mimic. I’ve had parrots form completely new cogent sentences they were never taught or would have ever heard. Animals learn so quickly how we communicate to them, why is it we think they need to speak our language for them to communicate back to us?
There’s only one phrase he was working on, of course! “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”.
He said, “Please don’t eat me, don’t eat me, thanks.”
My school computer will not let me listen because of the website it’s placed on. I really wanted to hear it .
WoW thats cool I heard a bird speak but a WHALE wow thats amazing!!(:
Some people seem to forget that humans are animals… All animals communicate in their own language – Never underestimate their ability to understand; and please be kind to them.
I think it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that he is mimicking human speech. More like making noise as a means to show interest in interaction of some sort much like cats meow at their owners to get their attention.
I can’t belive it????????????????????
Thats a First For Me….
I think I read that he said “Get out of the water.”
This discover confirms the necessity of respecting animals, for example by becoming vegetarian or vegan.
he spoke his love to the people that was a great story
you should wright about some more:D WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
it sounds most impressive to me!!!!
NOC said, “Let me outta here!”
I think your going to deep Lidia…. I dont know what he is saying, but he doesn’t sound happy… kind of like a cry..
Cooooooooool Talking Dolphins Dude (>0_0)><(0_0<) Kirby Dance
“So long and thanks for all the fish!”
if a animal spoke that is alesome and cool
Animals may be able to say the sounds, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re saying. If I taught a dolphin the word “hello” over and over until he was able to say “el-lo”, then he would only be copying the sounds as he heard them. There is no way he could know what he is saying, and he could never learn to speak English or any other language fluently. Animals minds just don’t work that way.
1999 and we’re just now hearing about this? Great!
In the 1980’s, there was a harbor seal at the New England Aquarium that spoke. His name was Hoover, and he was raised by a family in Maine after he was orphaned. He ate quite a bit – hence the name – and so they gave him to the Aquarium. I heard him do his thing on a warm February day, and will never forget him.
@dean….. it is kind of hard for people to believe you when an entire section of your comment was misspelled.
That does not sound like speech. It sounds more like a kazoo. I don’t hear any phonetics in there at all. It is interesting because it sounds MORE like speech than normal whale noises, but not nearly enough to be considered “impersonation of human speech.”
If more animals could speak we wouldn’t have to try to teach them English.
it sounds like it’s speaking a conversation but as humans sometimes see things blurry, you hear this conversation blurry.
There are birds that can talk and I know that dogs understand us, but when I was little I was always wondering if all animals could talk to us, but never really wanting to…. Lol
omggggggggggggg for real a real animal talking i herd of parrots talking but this wwwoooowww
I definitely heard something about get in the water. and maybe I was just imagining the part about reading a book….
that is truly amazing what if it could teach other animals and we could communicate with them for diaster relief specialist the could find and help huricane victims and sinking ships they could help the coast guard and national guard
[...] ‘Beluga Whale’ or Caviar — Every sturgeon’s right to know. — The First Cut is the Deepest — Ask any Mahi Mahi says Rousseau. — Occasionally Oui speak human, — Yet nobody understands. — The Monkeys on the Tour Bus — Or other RocknRoll Bands. — Understanding the Red Rose Marquis; — Lost vocal chords don’t cuss. — Whatever — Oui hear or see. — It all comes down to Lust. — How much and why do you want communication? — In this Wordly Food Chain situation. — Which other Food can you trust? –>>L.T.Rhyme [...]
that’s kinda neat, but the beluga ain’t really SPEEKING he is just parroting back what he’s heard. He may kinda know what he’s saying. My dog Shiloh knows his name, the words here, out, no, walk, etc. but that doesn’t mean he can understand english, that just means he’s connected the two pieces of the puzzle.
heyyyy that is cool but my dog can talk to pleassssssse do not tell people the next thing you know I’ll have reporters at my door
Why no explanation of the name “NOC”? It is shown in capitals, as tho it is an acronym or initialism, but you don’t say what it stands for nor how it is pronounced. I find that very odd. This is a dictionary site, but you don’t deal with the name of the beluga as a word that needs to be defined.
awww soo cuutee… but dont think i believe it! good point<: we r animals!
i cant believe animals can actual talk! that is truly amazing!
WHOA!WHOA!WHOA!!!! TALKING ANIMAL!XD I HAVE AlWAYS DREAMED OF THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i wish i was in the water taking to it but i been doing for it to speak
WOW!!!!!!!! THAT IS AMAZING! It makes me woner how!
This is sooooo cute & cool!!!!! I mean, I would have loved to be there when the beluga whale was talking, i would have been sooo surprised if it were like,” Hope, I love you alot! I want to be your best friend!”
The animal didn’t speak. Anyone who think it spoke is a moron. It was probably just this captive animal’s way of asking for another fish to eat.
This thread is full of idiots. The author is an idiot. I’m out.
woW AWESOME LOVE DOLPHINS HAHAHAH i love animal talking
wow amazing me again
COOOOOOOOOOOOOL i wish my dog could talk
jegs1234 its NOT A DOLPHIN. its the coolest animal in the world called a beluga whale. get yo facts right!!!!
hey OMG that is so cool i wonder if its actually true!!!!!!!!!!
Wow thats so interesting is there a video for this because I would like to see it.Thats just so cute,I wish my dog Sparkles could talk we would have talks together all the time.I love talking animals,but i think that human languege is to complex for a whale,but still adorable.
Some say it’s a dream come true, some say it is demonic. I say…… It’s awesome!
i know that animal his name is drake and i was at home watching the news and i saw drake
yes there is a video to this. i dont know the url but i know there is
this is cool
this is so cool and awesome!!!!
i cant believe he dided. i started to cry when i read that. ( blowes nose)
he was such a good wale.
That is some SMART whale!
Cetacean is a general term encompassing whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
That is awsome
ok, that is just pure amazing!! I cannot wait until science takes us to the next level until we can communicate with ALL species
that whale is so darn cuuuuuuuuuuuuute! <3
Ha ha this is so cute! I bet he’s saying “feed me!”
Yes, it DOES sound like human speech! That’s incredible! It just goes to show we humans are really not as different from the animals as we often like to believe.
that is sooo cool!!!
i love animals!!!
they are so cool!!
i wish i could speak whale
It really sounds like he’s singing “I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside”, which is apt.
ERMAGERD I LERVE DERPHINS!!!!! I HERP THEY TERK MER ERFTERN!!!!
As long as we are on the subject of Beluga Whales, what is their relationship to Beluga Caviar? If a Beluga Whale is a mammal. not a fish, then how does ‘caviar’ enter the picture? Or do I REALLY not want to know.
What researchers should have done is record every word spoken to NOC. Then they could have compared NOC’s vocal patterns to human speech patterns to see if there were any similarities. He may have been repeating human language associated with specific meaning.
AH THAT IS THE CUTEST THING IV’E EVER SEEN AND THE PEOPLE THAT HATE HIM NEED TO GET OVER IT BECAUSE THAT DOLPHIN IS SO CUTE LOTS OF PEOPLE AGRE WITH ME
Wish cats could talk!
[...] — It’s Nature we’re a Part of on the Earth — The Sandy Frankenstorm and the Beluga Whale. — That’s actually not that odd. — For ever What it’s Worth. [...]
I’d be curious who cared for this animal? Who was most connected to NOC? To me, it does sound like a song. Perhaps that was the easiest way NOC could imitate human sounds with musical sounds. Or was there someone who sang songs around NOC? What songs did he/she sing? This is a fascinating story!
The tune sort-of sounds like “Happy Birthday”.
I wish they could talk!!!
So long, and thanks for all the fish,
So sad that it should come to this,
we tried to warn you but oh dear!
So long, so long and thanks for all the fish………
And here’s some articles about an elephant who can ’speak Korean’:
HAHAHAHAHA that is so funny
oh!! cool! ))
Narwhals are cool yeehaw
nothing cool about this.I don’t want some animal pleading with me not to throw them to the lions or devour it myself.Particularly like the ones that get thrown alive into boiling water.
My dog can do better.