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  1. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Oct '12 10:45
    There is an audio clip of the sound it is making:

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-whale-distinctly-human-like-voice.html
  2. 23 Oct '12 11:50
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    There is an audio clip of the sound it is making:

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-whale-distinctly-human-like-voice.html
    I heard this was all over the news but I missed it.
    Hearing that human like sound on that link is truly astonishing! It isn't exactly human words -more like human singing.
    But still, this does make me very seriously wonder if it is possible for a whale to actually learn to understand and use plain English! Does anyone have any idea how likely that that is possible?
  3. 23 Oct '12 12:59
    Originally posted by humy
    I heard this was all over the news but I missed it.
    Hearing that human like sound on that link is truly astonishing! It isn't exactly human words -more like human singing.
    But still, this does make me very seriously wonder if it is possible for a whale to actually learn to understand and use plain English! Does anyone have any idea how likely that that is possible?
    Not very.

    They can just about make the sounds and they have the very basic rudiments of
    language but they are never going to be able to hold conversations with us of any
    interest.

    They can learn to tell us that they would like some fish and that they want to play
    with a ball or like their belly rubbed but it sadly doesn't go much beyond that.

    At least on current evidence.

    I still regard whales and dolphins as being far too intelligent to consider hunting them
    however.
  4. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Oct '12 14:28
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Not very.

    They can just about make the sounds and they have the very basic rudiments of
    language but they are never going to be able to hold conversations with us of any
    interest.

    They can learn to tell us that they would like some fish and that they want to play
    with a ball or like their belly rubbed but it sadly doesn't go much beyond that. ...[text shortened]... ill regard whales and dolphins as being far too intelligent to consider hunting them
    however.
    The intelligence of dolphins and such are greater than any of our primate relatives and the conversations they have with each other is very complex, a LOT more complex than 'gimme that fish before I bite your fin off' or 'lets have sex'. There has been linguistic analysis of dolphin talk and it shows much much more complexity than any primate other than humans.
  5. 23 Oct '12 14:44
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    The intelligence of dolphins and such are greater than any of our primate relatives and the conversations they have with each other is very complex, a LOT more complex than 'gimme that fish before I bite your fin off' or 'lets have sex'. There has been linguistic analysis of dolphin talk and it shows much much more complexity than any primate other than humans.
    Really?
    Well I would like to see that research because the stuff I have seen says the opposite.

    It may be that there are people claiming it both ways and much more work is needed.
  6. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Oct '12 14:52 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Really?
    Well I would like to see that research because the stuff I have seen says the opposite.

    It may be that there are people claiming it both ways and much more work is needed.
    That work has been ongoing for 50 years. I'll try to find some relevant links. It's bad enough for humans trying to piece together lost human languages where we know the brain is human, maybe 6000 years old but we are a common folk, but dolphins, Beluga whales, Porpoises, and such are totally alien to our way of thinking and we have our work cut out for us to figure out there languages.

    Here is one recent development, the CymaScope: helps visualize their sounds in a new way.

    http://www.speakdolphin.com/ResearchItems.cfm?ID=6

    And this, short piece about a breakthrough in analyzing their speech:

    http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1716996/pg1

    And this, among many others on the web:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/sciencenotfiction/2011/02/18/learning-the-alien-language-of-dolphins/
  7. 23 Oct '12 15:13
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    That work has been ongoing for 50 years. I'll try to find some relevant links. It's bad enough for humans trying to piece together lost human languages where we know the brain is human, maybe 6000 years old but we are a common folk, but dolphins, Beluga whales, Porpoises, and such are totally alien to our way of thinking and we have our work cut out for us ...[text shortened]... ogs.discovermagazine.com/sciencenotfiction/2011/02/18/learning-the-alien-language-of-dolphins/
    Thanks I'll have a look at these later.
  8. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Oct '12 15:31
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Thanks I'll have a look at these later.
    BTW, the original researcher was Dr. Lilly, you might want to google him.

    And just listening to that audio clip should give you a clue about the intelligence of the Beluga Whale. It was going through a lot of work to make sounds that were close to human, which he had to do with his nostrils, think about that. It was like us trying to make human sounds with our nose, squeezing our nostrils partially shut and blowing.
    That alone shows deep layers of intelligence we have barely been able to analyze till now.
  9. 23 Oct '12 15:50
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    BTW, the original researcher was Dr. Lilly, you might want to google him.

    And just listening to that audio clip should give you a clue about the intelligence of the Beluga Whale. It was going through a lot of work to make sounds that were close to human, which he had to do with his nostrils, think about that. It was like us trying to make human sounds wi ...[text shortened]... ing.
    That alone shows deep layers of intelligence we have barely been able to analyze till now.
    There is a rare tropical bird that lives in a now dwindling rain forest that is an excellent imitator
    and has learned to remarkably accurately imitate the sounds of the chainsaws cutting down it's
    forest home. Also the parrot up the road has learned to imitate it's owners telephone with remarkable
    accuracy (and volume).

    There is also a dog in California that has taught itself (wasn't trained at all) to skateboard after seeing
    people do it and deciding to join in.

    Neither is a particularly good conversationalist.

    I am skeptical about dolphins linguistic capabilities being good enough to hold any kind of meaningful
    conversation or that they talk about anything interesting out in the wild.

    I am open to being convinced otherwise, but the evidence is going to need to be quite strong.
  10. 23 Oct '12 16:34
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Not very.

    They can just about make the sounds and they have the very basic rudiments of
    language but they are never going to be able to hold conversations with us of any
    interest.

    They can learn to tell us that they would like some fish and that they want to play
    with a ball or like their belly rubbed but it sadly doesn't go much beyond that. ...[text shortened]... ill regard whales and dolphins as being far too intelligent to consider hunting them
    however.
    I still regard whales and dolphins as being far too intelligent to consider hunting them
    however.

    I concur. But you might be underestimating their intelligence a bit. After all, the brain size of a whale is much larger than that of a human and every part of their brain must have evolved with useful function because there is significant biological cost with having each part of the brain ( such as greater oxygen consumption and that would mean the whale would not be able to hold its breath for so long ) so natural selection would have quickly removed any useless/redundant parts of the brain and every part of their brain must be used for something significant just like in ours. This surely would indicate that they may be more intelligent than us at least in some ways.
  11. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    23 Oct '12 19:23 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by humy
    I still regard whales and dolphins as being far too intelligent to consider hunting them
    however.

    I concur. But you might be underestimating their intelligence a bit. After all, the brain size of a whale is much larger than that of a human and every part of their brain must have evolved with useful function because there is significant ...[text shortened]... is surely would indicate that they may be more intelligent than us at least in some ways.
    A large part of dolphin brains are devoted to analyzing sonar signals which leaves less gray matter for general intelligence but those guys have huge brains and we just don't know the real intelligence yet.

    They certainly have high level communications between themselves and we have no way of telling if they are telling stories, discussing religion or dolphin politics or singing love songs. When they are in their pods and it isn't dinner time, they talk incessantly but about what is anyone's guess.

    One thing we know, their sonar makes their bodies transparent to themselves so there could be the equivalent of a dolphin doctor, who knows. Their sonar resolution is greater underwater than our vision even corrected with proper lenses.
    Experiments have shown they can distinguish between a 2 cm ball and a 2.2 cm ball at 50 feet. Humans would find that impossible without binoculars.

    All that will come after we get some deciphering successes. News at 11.
  12. 23 Oct '12 19:59
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    A large part of dolphin brains are devoted to analyzing sonar signals which leaves less gray matter for general intelligence but those guys have huge brains and we just don't know the real intelligence yet.

    They certainly have high level communications between themselves and we have no way of telling if they are telling stories, discussing religion or do ...[text shortened]... ithout binoculars.

    All that will come after we get some deciphering successes. News at 11.
    We shouldn't judge intelligence of another species based on how humanlike they are in behavior. Even if whales are limited in language, they still are able to communicate with each other what matters to them. It makes it hard to say how intelligent they are, but given their lifestyle I would be they have not had to process that much information. That still doesn't mean they are not intelligent in a different way. I heard the sound on the clip and it is a giant leap to say the whale was trying to make human sounds. I like to think it was but if so it is doubtful it understands any human vocabulary.
  13. 24 Oct '12 13:46
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    finnegen would likely divert the whole issue to somehow be about men violating womens rights to abort their young, even if the topic starts out on whale-speak
  14. 24 Oct '12 18:44 / 3 edits
    The noise from the whale clearly sounds like a human singing.
    Hasn't it occurred to anyone here that, if we take this evidence completely at face value, we could form the simple obvious conclusion that the whale made that noise because it just felt like singing and sang for the same aesthetic/emotional reasons why a human may sing to himself/others? Surely that must be at least one out of several possible valid interpretations?

    In other words, maybe the whale was not deliberately and specifically trying to sound human but rather it just fancied to sing so it did?
  15. 25 Oct '12 00:11
    Originally posted by CLL53
    Maybe the whale sang backwards to throw humans off.
    Need to play the recording backward and see if there is a message.
    My bet is that there is a subliminal message recorded backwards: "Don't eat the whales, whales are good, whales are your friends..."
    I did play it backwards and it was saying dont trust the liberal humans. They say they want to save us but they kill their own babies. Stay away stay away.