The sea creature was moved to the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea
After two months, it began communicating with the pod of dolphins
Eventually, the whale lost its signature beluga call altogether
A beluga whale living in captivity with bottlenose dolphins has astounded researchers after it was recorded speaking their unique ’language’.
The sea creature was moved to the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea in November 2013 when it was four years old where it was monitored by scientists.
Despite some initial difficulties, the whale quickly integrated into the pod, which consisted of one adult male, two adult females and a young female, according to researchers Elena Panova and Alexandr Agafonov from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
The sea creature was moved to the Koktebel dolphinarium in Crimea in November 2013 when it was four years old where it was monitored by scientists. Pictured : A beluga whale
Within months, the whale started to imitate the dolphins before losing its signature beluga call altogether, Science Alert reported.
’Two months after the beluga’s introduction into a new facility, we found that it began to imitate whistles of the dolphins, whereas one type of its own calls seemed to disappear,’ researchers said.
But, they added : ’The inspection of the audio recordings made before and after the beluga’s introduction revealed that the cross-species imitation was not reciprocal.
’While the imitations of dolphin whistles were regularly detected among the beluga’s vocalisations, we found only one case in which the dolphins produced short calls that resembled (but were not identical in physical parameters) those of the beluga.’
But while the whale was able to effectively imitate its companions, it is not known if the creature was able to understand the language.
Dubbed ’sea canaries,’ beluga whales make a wide range of whistles, grunts and clicks, and use echolocation to navigate under ice and find prey in murky water.
They mostly eat fish, squid, crustaceans and octopi and have 34 teeth designed not for chewing, but for grabbing and tearing prey.