# video | Seals were taught to play music from Star Wars. How is this useful to science?

The most famous imitators of humanThe voices are undoubtedly parrots, but in nature there are still plenty of other animals that can learn new sounds. Seals turned out to be one of them - scientists from the University of St. Andrews proved this by teaching them to perform the main theme from Star Wars and the English lullaby “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. At first this idea may seem meaningless fun, but in fact the study may reveal the causes of speech impairment in humans.

Three seals participated in the multi-year study: Ash, Janice and Gandalf. They were under the supervision of researchers from a very early age - scientists recorded the natural sounds they emitted, and during the research they created a kind of “catalog of seal repertoire”. The data gathered quickly made it clear that these animals make sounds using the same laryngeal structures as humans.

The seal sings a tune from "Star Wars"

After finding out, the researchers began to teach the sealsmake new sounds - animals have demonstrated an amazing skill to imitate the human voice, changing the frequency of the voice tone. Among the three seals, Zola stood out, who was able to repeat 10 popular songs, including the aforementioned Star Wars theme and the familiar lullaby.

I was amazed at how good the seals were.copy the sounds we gave them to listen. Of course, they did not imitate them ideally, but considering that they are very unusual for them, this is an impressive result. Our study proves a high level of vocal abilities of seals, ”shared one of the researchers, Amanda Stansbury.

Researchers believe that following the developmentvoice abilities of seals since childhood, they will be able to compare this knowledge with the development of voices in humans. After examining two sets of data, they hope to identify the causes of speech disorders in people, and develop methods for their treatment. In their opinion, both genetic factors and learning itself play an important role in speech disorders.

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Talking elephant

Beyond the seals, mimic the human voiceso are elephants. The most famous of them is Koshik from the zoo of the Korean city of Yongin. According to the vet Oh Suk-Hun, he learned to repeat the words of the zoo attendants from loneliness when he was separated from his relatives. Thus, five words entered his vocabulary: “hello,” “sit down,” “lie down,” “no,” and “good.”

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On the subject of animals, we also recommend reading about a two-headed snake that was found in Virginia in the summer of 2018. How did she become famous, and how was her fate? Read in our material.

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