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Whale Has Human-Like Voice

While we've had many whale sightings in Dana Point, there haven't been any like NOC, a white beluga whale who researchers say sounds a lot like a human. Listen and tell us if you agree.

It's not uncommon -- in fact, it is pretty typical -- for tourists as well as locals to see whales around Dana Point.

Over the past few months there have been record sightings, whales that smile for the camera and others with names like 'Hook."

But what about any talking ones?

Researchers at the National Marine Mammal Foundation published their acoustic analysis of the voice of a male beluga, or white, whale named NOC, who can, apparently, imitate the voices of humans. Sam Ridgway of the National Marine Mammal Foundation said: "Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds. Such obvious effort suggests motivation for contact."

According to Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Whalewatching and Sportfishing: "We've never heard a whale talk ever on board any of our vessels or come across a whale that even sounded like it was talking. But it would be really cool if we had belugas here. Belugas are the whales I'd love to personally see and they are what keeps me going back to Sea World. There's never been any sightings in Dana Point of them."

Scientists reported the NOC finding in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Current Biology.

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