Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Whale/Dolphin Wednesday

As I was watching the news Monday night I saw a story about beluga whales mimicking human voices.  This sounds a little hokie to me.  It reminds me like the guy who claims his dog says "I Love You".  Have you ever heard this one?

According to scientists at the National Marine Mammal Association, in 1984 in San Diego they started noticing unusual sounds by beluga whales in captivity that were similar to humans from a beluga whale named "Noc".  After further study, and reinforcing treats for Noc, they were able to record these sounds.  Noc passed away five years ago after 30 years in captivity and it was reported that his vocalizations slowed after he matured.

Whales make these sounds completely different from humans by using their nasal tracts and not their voice box or larynx as humans do.  Air pressure has to vary in the nasal tract while adjusting lip-like valves and over-inflating sacs below the blowhole.  

According to Sam Ridgeway, neurobiologist, research veterinarian and president of the National Marine Association, further research could discover whether anything can be achieved at a conversational level.

The scientists detail their discovery in the current issue of Current Biology  

My thoughts?...Who cares!
I really wonder how much of this is truth and how much is wishful thinking.  It is sad that "researchers" are: 
1.  Forcing these animals to live in captivity at all
2.  Trying to justify it by "researching" whether or not they can communicate with humans.  

Why should they?  Why not just let them be whales?  Free!

Taiji Update

A pod of 10-15 Risso dolphins were brought into the cove on Friday.  Three were chosen, two adults and one juvenile, for a life of captivity while the rest were killed for their meat.  This was the first capture in three weeks but I'm sure it won't be the last.  The season continues until the end of March.

To sign the petition to stop this horrible murder, CLICK HERE

Last week I had told you about the book signing last night by David Kirby, author of Death at Sea World.  I had hoped to post about the signing today but I didn't have time to prepare a post that would give proper attention.  I will plan on posting that next week.


  1. My sister used to have an alarm clock shaped like a rooster. It crowed for the alarm - and so did her dog. So I think animals can definitely imitate other animals. I wish we had a video camera back then.

  2. Hi, Heather. I didn't know that about the vocal sounds. Sometimes animals might sound as if they are saying something. I could swear my cat says thank you when I let her in, but I agree it has more to do with us than them. I look forward to hearing about the book signing.

    I have awarded you a Reader Appreciation Award over on my blog if you would like it. If you have already had this or are too busy to collect don't worry I think you still deserve it for being so lovely :)