(San Diego Union-Tribune) San Diego scientists reported this week what sounded like a talking whale, a young Beluga that spontaneously mimicked human voices.

Researchers with the San Diego-based National Marine Mammal Foundation reported the findings in the journal Current Biology on Monday, highlighting a case study they say is the first documentation of marine mammal mimicry of human speech.

“It’s very unusual,” said study author Sam Ridgway, president of the foundation, and a veteran marine mammal researcher. “This is the first time a whale, or any cetacean, has been demonstrated to imitate human speech and make speech-like sounds.”

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