Ear: Seals

Let’s hope the East Basin sea lions don’t figure this one out: Three gray seals at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have been trained to copy the sound of human speech, and song, by researchers there.

The end result is seals “singing” the melodies to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and the “Star Wars” theme, which can be seen in a video the researchers created. Zola particularly shines with her rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle.” A still shot is shown, courtesy of the University of St. Andrews.

“Copies were not perfect, but given that these are not typical seal sounds it is pretty impressive,” lead researcher Amanda Stansbury said. “Our study really demonstrates how flexible seal vocalizations are.” (AP, bit.ly/sealwars)

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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