[MARMAM] Fwd: Killer Whale Vocal imitation New Publication Announcement

José Francisco Zamorano Abramson zabramson at psi.ucm.es
Wed Feb 7 03:08:42 PST 2018

Dear Colleagues,

My co-authors and I are happy to announce our recent publication
in Proceedings of The Royal Society B:

Imitation of novel conspecific and human speech sounds in the killer
whale (*Orcinus
orca).* Abramson JZ, Hernández- Lloreda MV, García L, Colmenares F, Aboitiz
F, Call J. (2018) Proc. R. Soc. B 285: 20172171. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/


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 do-as-I-do paradigm to study the
abilities of a killer whale to imi- tate 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 rela- tively 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.

The paper is available here : http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/

or you can contact me at zabramson at psi.ucm.es  for a reprint or if you have
any questions.

All the best,


Dr. José Zamorano-Abramson.
Investigador Grupo de Estudio del Comportamiento Animal y Humano (GECAH)
Departamento de Psicobiología
Facultad de Psicología
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Campus de Somosaguas 28223 Madrid, Spain
RESEARCHE Id: B-3990-2012
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