Meet the Beluga Whale that Communicates Like a Human

It’s no surprise that the underwater life is loaded with surprises.

From majestic species to fascinating behavior, there’s just so much to discover once you’re in the deep blue sea.

Not everyone is as lucky as marine biologist Sam Ridgway, though. While he was underwater during a training dive in 1984, he swore he heard his supervisor over the intercom. It turns out it was a beluga whale he and his team fondly called Noc.

Pronounced No-See, Noc was captured by the U.S. Navy Seal when he was just two years old. He was trained in the late ‘70s to retrieve sunken torpedoes. Throughout the course of their journey, Noc formed a strong bond with Ridgway and his team.

“They come to think of us as family,” Ridgway told Smithsonian magazine. “And that’s the reason they stay with us. We have no way of completely controlling them, and yet they do their job and come back. They kind of view themselves as part of a team.”

Perhaps that’s why Noc was able to communicate like a human underwater — like someone over-inflating his nasal cavity speaking in warbled human tongue. In fact, the team even has a record of the audio to prove it. We tell you, it was nothing short of jaw dropping.

How is this even possible? A cetacean specialist by the name of Lori Marino explains: “Their brain “brings things together, synthesizes and does complex processing in ways we obviously don’t understand yet. But it’s not as though we have this huge complex whale brain and no commensurately complex behavior. They are individuals. They have lives to lead and social relationships. They have families, and they have really good memories.”

Just amazing!



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