English
 
User Manual Privacy Policy Disclaimer Contact us
  Advanced SearchBrowse

Item

ITEM ACTIONSEXPORT

Released

Journal Article

Imitation of novel conspecific and human speech sounds in the killer whale (Orcinus orca)

MPS-Authors
/persons/resource/persons72611

Call,  Josep
Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

Locator
There are no locators available
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts available
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available
Citation

Abramson, J. Z., Hernández-Lloreda, M. V., García, L., Colmenares, F., Aboitiz, F., & Call, J. (2018). Imitation of novel conspecific and human speech sounds in the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1871): 20172171. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.2171.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-7E80-2
Abstract
Vocal imitation is a hallmark of human spoken language, which, along with other advanced cognitive skills, has fuelled the evolution of human culture. Comparative evidence has revealed that although the ability to copy sounds from conspecifics is mostly uniquely human among primates, a few distantly related taxa of birds and mammals have also independently evolved this capacity. Remarkably, field observations of killer whales have documented the existence of group-differentiated vocal dialects that are often referred to as traditions or cultures and are hypothesized to be acquired non-genetically. Here we use a <i>do-as-I-do</i> paradigm to study the abilities of a killer whale to imitate novel sounds uttered by conspecific (vocal imitative learning) and human models (vocal mimicry). We found that the subject made recognizable copies of all familiar and novel conspecific and human sounds tested and did so relatively quickly (most during the first 10 trials and three in the first attempt). Our results lend support to the hypothesis that the vocal variants observed in natural populations of this species can be socially learned by imitation. The capacity for vocal imitation shown in this study may scaffold the natural vocal traditions of killer whales in the wild.</p>