Panel Questions Sea and Say.
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Panel Questions

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Panel Questions

Panel Questions

Panel Questions

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Sea and Say.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Right now, panel, it is time for you to answer some questions about this week's news.

Paula, anyone who's been to SeaWorld knows that killer whales can be trained to do all kinds of tricks. But according to new research that was announced just this week, it turns out, what else can orcas do?

PAULA POUNDSTONE: They can talk.

SAGAL: Yes, you're right, Paula.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: This is amazing.

HELEN HONG: Wow.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Researchers in France say that, through their experiments, they have trained orcas to imitate human speech. And to prove this, they have released a recording. Now we're going to play it for you. So what you're about to hear is the human speaking and then the whale mimicking the human. And what they say is an amazing recreation of human speech. So I want to stress, this is the real tape that they put out to prove their great work with the orcas. Go ahead.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hello.

(SOUNDBITE OF ORCA VOCALIZING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hello.

(SOUNDBITE OF ORCA VOCALIZING)

HONG: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

TOM BODETT: I think that whale was mocking her.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So here - so the human go first. And then - in case you couldn't tell - because it's such an amazing...

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...Amazing imitation of human speech. Again, the human is going to go first, and then you're going to hear from the orca.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: One, two, three.

(SOUNDBITE OF ORCA VOCALIZING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: One, two, three.

(SOUNDBITE OF ORCA VOCALIZING)

SAGAL: Just think of all the things we'll be able to talk about...

(LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Oh, man.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...With the orcas. We could ask them questions like, is that food gross?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Hey, orca - what does a car crash sound like?

(LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: They are going to be embraced by second-graders.

SAGAL: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: When asked what other uses this discovery could be put to, the lead researchers say (vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TALK TO THE ANIMALS")

SAMMY DAVIS JR.: (Singing) Oh, if I could talk to the animals, just imagine it. Chatting...

SAGAL: Coming up, it's our Bluff the Listener game, the kind you find in a secondhand store. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

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