Scientists Talk To Whales

[Paul Balfe, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

In a touching narrative that transcends the boundaries of language and species, the beloved family film “Free Willy” showcases the remarkable friendship between a young boy and Willy, a captive orca. Set against the backdrop of a local amusement park, their unique bond blossoms without words, yet speaks volumes about the profound connections that can form between humans and animals. 

Recently, however, scientists revealed that they recently had an actual conversation with a humpback whale.

Using a recorded humpback “contact” call played into the sea through an underwater speaker, the scientists were amazed as Twain approached and circled their boat, responding in a conversational manner to the whale’s “greeting signal,” writes

Throughout the 20-minute exchange, Twain consistently matched the interval variations between each playback call.

The details of this extraordinary encounter can be found in the recent issue of the journal Peer J, titled “Interactive Bioacoustic Playback as a Tool for Detecting and Exploring Nonhuman Intelligence: ‘Conversing’ with an Alaskan Humpback Whale.”

Lead author Dr. Brenda McCowan of U.C. Davis explains the significance of this whale conversation, stating, “We believe this is the first such communicative exchange between humans and humpback whales in the humpback ‘language.’”

Dr. Fred Sharpe of the Alaska Whale Foundation further emphasizes the intelligence of humpback whales, highlighting their abilities to engage in complex social systems, create tools such as nets made of bubbles to catch fish, and extensively communicate through songs and social calls.

Even stranger, however, is why scientists are trying to communicate with whales in the first place. They think they could unlock the key to one day speaking with extraterrestrials. 

Whether there are actually any intelligent aliens in outerspace is undertain, but The SETI Institute, which performed the study, writes that “similar to studying Antarctica as a proxy for Mars, the Whale-SETI team is studying intelligent, terrestrial, non-human communication systems to develop filters to apply to any extraterrestrial signals received. The mathematics of information theory to quantify communicative complexity – (for example rule structure embedded in a received message) will be utilized.”

[Read More: The Rarest Possible Birth]

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  1. Did this in Star Trek 4 movie then

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