Japanese Whisperer Teaches Beluga Whale To 'Talk'

28LabPublished: November 13, 2017Updated: November 14, 2017166 views
Published: November 13, 2017Updated: November 14, 2017

One Japanese researcher has taught a beluga whale to “talk” by using sounds to identify three different objects, offering hope that humans may one day be able to have conversations with sea mammals. The high intelligence of whales and dolphins has made them a popular target for research. So, meet Nack, the beluga that ''talks'' at Kamogawa Sea World in Chiba prefecture, Japan.

Nack’s home is one of the leading aquariums in Japan, a two-hour drive from Tokyo station which holds around 11,000 organisms on display, starring the talking beluga whale. Nack was caught in Canada in 1988, 28 years ago.

Among dolphin species, beluga’s distinctive characteristics are their pure white color and lack of back fin, though they are scarce. If you touch one, you will notice right away that they are very soft. It is thought that they got like that because they live in freezing cold water. At the end of his forehead it has a hole for breathing which is called an air sack. By drawing sound between the air sack and spiracle, it whistles like a human. Beluga whales are very intelligent, friendly and they enjoy being trained in this way.

Seven years ago, with the cooperation of the aquarium, Tokai University professor Tsukasa Murayama started training Nack after he became dissatisfied with hand-signals currently used to communicate with dolphins and whales and taught the beluga to imitate human speech as part of his research. Now Nack has his special performance.

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