1 Feb 2018
Listen to This Orca Saying ‘Hello’ and “Good-bye.’
In January of 2018, a killer whale named Wikie was recorded mimicking a human trainer saying things like “hello, goodbye” and some other tidbits at a research facility located at Marineland of Antibes in Antibes, France. No one has explained why the researchers at the French facility were teaching Wikie to speak English rather than French.
An international team of researchers, who apparently had some free time on their hands, discovered that whales are able to replicate the sounds of human speech. When you listen to Wikie speak on the link at the end of this article, you may not be overly impressed, however. That’s because Wikie doesn’t speak as clearly as the average parrot can, and parrots display more awareness of what words actually mean, which is why they say things like “Polly wants a cracker” when they want a cracker.
No one has yet heard Wikie say, “Wikie wants a fish” or anything close to that. In fact, this is as close to a non-story as you can get without actually ending up with a non-story. That didn’t stop Popular Science, Science magazine, the Washington Post, The Guardian and NPR from running competing stories about the 14 year-old whale’s conversational capacity. It’s somewhat comforting to think about the possibility of talking a killer whale out of taking a bite out of your leg.
The U.S. Navy has been training bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions to find things lost at sea. Unlike human divers, the dolphins and sea lions will work for sardines. The Navy’s dolphin project has reached the stage where you can actually “rent” a dolphin or a sea-lion to find stuff. The Navy doesn’t eve n charge for the service itself. You only have to pay for the shipping to and from the site.
Think we’re kidding? Think this is fake news? It’s not. In fact, here’s the link to the Navy’s dolphin website where you will find instructions for renting one of these sea creatures.