LOS ANGELES, CA - Rocky, the ginger ape, has shown an ability to emulate human speech for the first time ever.
This feat gets us one step closer to understanding how human speech first evolved from the communications of ancestral great apes.
Lead researcher Adriano Lameria, from the University of Durham, UK, says, “This opens up the potential for us to learn more about the vocal capacities of early hominids that lived before the split between the orangutan and human lineages to see ho the vocal system evolved towards full blown speech in humans.”
His team played a game in which the ape mimicked the pitch and tone of human sounds and made vowel-like calls. The scientists concluded Rocky was able to learn new sounds and control the action of his voice in the way humans do when they conduct a conversation.
These sounds are way different than any known noises made by wild orangutans and shows for the first time that animals can learn new sounds.
If this research continues then it looks like we’ll have even more distant relatives trying to take up our phone minutes. Once they start talking, who know what they will have to say…