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An elephant in South Korea supposedly uses his trunk to imitate human speech.

Koshik the ‘talking elephant’ can apparently say five Korean words when he has his trunk in his mouth.

He can say ‘annyeong’ meaning hello, ‘nuwo’ or lie down, ‘joa’ meaning good or ‘aniya’ meaning no.

It’s believed the elephant learned how to speak after a strong bond with his trainers.

Angela Stoeger, from the University of Vienna explained to the Guardian: "Koshik is capable of matching both pitch and timbre patterns. He accurately imitates human formants as well as the voice pitch of his trainers. This is remarkable considering the huge size, the long vocal tract, and other anatomical differences between an elephant and a human."

Dr, Daniel Mietchen, a biological scientist from University of Jena, is also impressed with the findings: “as far as we know Koshik is the only living animal capable of this, but there are other elephants who have imitated other sounds, like sounds of truck or sounds of other elephants,” he explained to CBS News.

Current Biology broke the news about Koshik on Friday, but it’s not the first time similar claims have been made. In 1983 workers in a Kazakhstan zoo reckon one of their elephants could also speak to humans.

However, whether these elephants actually know what the words mean is yet to be proven.

 

 


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Korean scientists claims elephant has learned a way to mimic human speech
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