Wired brings us another step closer to talking with the animals, thanks to research showing that mama parrots give their babies names:
Before a green-rumped parrotlet is even able to chirp and squawk, mom and dad teach it a distinct series of sounds used by parrots to recognize a specific individual. In short, they give their nestling a name.
To find out, Cornell University ornithologist Karl Berg and his team swapped eggs between nests in a wild parrotlet population they’d studied since 1987. Half the parrotlet pairs raised foster chicks, who used the contact calls demonstrated by their adoptive parents. Were the calls hard-wired, they’d have used their biological parents’ calls.
Among other animals known to imitate the sounds of others and give each other unique names are dolphins and humans (and, possibly, whales.)