Oct 22 2012

The whale talk

NOC, a nine-year-old whale made human-like-sounds.

Vocal bursts averaged about three per second, with pauses reminiscent of human speech. Analysis of the recordings showed that the frequencies within them were spread out into “harmonics” in a way very unlike whales’ normal vocalizations and more like those of humans.

The mimicry is no easy task for whales. NOC had to modify his vocal mechanics to make human-like- sounds. We did not know whales could do that.
We know so much about animals! And we do not know so much about animals!


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  1. 1

    Phew, given its 2012 I was worried he was going to say – ‘So long, and thanks for all the fish…’

  2. 2

    I had an uncle who sounded like that when he was trying to sing “Mairzy Doats” when he was drunk. Thankfully he never got a recording contract.

  3. 3
    Taslima Nasreen

    He sounds like he is reciting the Koranic verses. Some Muslims may say the whale is praying to Allah.

    1. 3.1

      He sounds like someone talking into a megaphone from under water. Which, in fairness, is probably what he’s listening to every day from 9 to 5.

      The noise probably reminds people of the call to prayer coming from mosques. Oddly enough, when trying to explain that sound in writing a few years ago, I likened it to whales singing.

    2. 3.2

      If you listen carefully it sounds like he’s a Shia.

  4. 4
    The Rose

    “Pa does not love Fa?”

  5. 5

    Don’t get hung up on this: whales are things we eat…

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