Seals can copy human speech and sing the theme song of Star Wars, according to new study | World News


Gray seals are able to sing movie themes and imitate human language, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of St. Andrews trained three gray seals to copy sound sequences, resulting in an interpretation of several notes of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the theme song of Star Wars.

It was also found that marine mammals were able to copy the sounds of human speech, including vowels.

Lead researcher Amanda Stansbury said she was "amazed" at how well the seals were able to mimic the sounds.

She said, "The copies were not perfect, but since these are not typical stamp sounds, it's pretty impressive."

But while Ms Stansbury notes the expressiveness of the results, the research team says that does not mean that we will be able to talk to the labels so soon.

Professor Vincent Janik, director of the Scottish Ocean Institute at the University of St. Andrews, pointed out that language copying is one part, but understanding is another.

"Our study suggests that [seals] has the production skills to produce human language. If they can understand this, it would be the next question, "he said.

"We would have to investigate if they are able to label objects vocally, which is a fundamental requirement to really talk about things."

Janik also says that current findings could be used for further study of human speech disorders, particularly in the development of speech.

He said, "Because the seals use the same neural and anatomical structures as humans to produce these sounds, they provide a good model system for studying how speech sounds are learned."


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