‘Hello!’ Says the Human. ‘Hello!’ Pipes the Orca Right Back.

A human greets an orca with a “Hello!” “Hello!” responds the orca. A new research shows, the orcas have been able to imitate human speech, in some cases at the first attempt, saying words such as “hello”, “one, two,” “Amy”, and “bye bye.” From a report: The study also shows that the creatures are able to copy unfamiliar sounds produced by other orcas — including a sound similar to blowing a raspberry. Scientists say the discovery helps to shed light on how different pods of wild killer whales have ended up with distinct dialects, adding weight to the idea that they are the result of imitation between orcas. The creatures are already known for their ability to copy the movements of other orcas, with some reports suggesting they can also mimic the sounds of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. [...] Wikie is not the first animal to have managed the feat of producing human sounds: dolphins, elephants, parrots, orangutans and even beluga whales have all been captured mimicking our utterances, although they use a range of physical mechanisms to us to do so.

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