Listen to this killer whale say ‘hello’ and ‘bye-bye’
When it comes to echoing human speech, parrots are the superstars of the animal world—but a killer whale named Wikie may not be far behind. The 14-year-old orca showed off her vocal skills by imitating her trainer’s words, saying things like “Amy” and “bye-bye.” Researchers got her to do this by first training her to obey a hand signal that meant “copy this,” which, for instance, was used to instruct her to copy another orca squirting water into the air. Then, they presented her with sounds she had never heard before—five sounds from other orcas and six phrases spoken by trainers—and asked her to repeat them.
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