Nature listens to the strange tale of the beluga that sang like a human:
“Who told me to get out?” asked a diver, surfacing from a tank in which a whale named NOC lived. The beluga’s caretakers had heard what sounded like garbled phrases emanating from the enclosure before, and it suddenly dawned on them that the whale might be imitating the voices of his human handlers.
The outbursts — described today in Current Biology1 and originally at a 1985 conference — began in 1984 and lasted for about four years, until NOC hit sexual maturity, says Sam Ridgway, a marine biologist at National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, California. He believes that NOC learned to imitate humans by listening to them speak underwater and on the surface.
This whole article, though not necessarily cutting-edge, is full of gems. This beluga was named NOC after no-see-ums. Another beluga was known to say his own name… Lagosi. Belugas are known as “canaries of the sea,” although they’re really more like mockingbirds.