Beluga Whale Tells Diver: Get 'Out'

A whale's song sounds eerily human, study says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 22, 2012 6:06 PM CDT

It could be the muffled sound of singing in the shower or that sing-songy indecipherable voice from the Muppets' Swedish Chef. But scientists say it was a whale imitating people. In fact, the whale song sounded so eerily human that divers initially mistook it for a human voice. In a study published online today in Current Biology, researchers at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego recorded the spontaneous sounds of a captive male Beluga whale, named Noc, while underwater and when he surfaced.

One diver who swam with the whale asked, "Who told me to get out?" Researchers concluded that Noc had made a sound resembling "Out," reports the Huffington Post. Scientists think the whale's close proximity to people allowed him to listen to and mimic human speech. After several years, Noc went back to sounding like a whale, emitting high-pitched noises. The whale died several years ago. (Read more beluga whale stories.)

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