Text books have taught us that humans came from apes. Some might even relate to them as well as their antics. However, an orangutan named Rocky has left scientists astonished with his special ability to ‘ape’ humans.
Yes! The eight-year-old primate not only copied words but also reproduced them in a tone very similar to humans.
The scientists found that the sounds were different from any known noises made by orangutans, showing that animals can learn new sounds and mimic human voices.
Rocky was not only able to learn new sounds but also control his tone and pitch to a level that it resembles the voice of a human.
Lead researcher Dr Adriano Lameira from Durham University believes that orang-utans have the ability to control their voices and that the research will help in understanding how human speech evolved.
“It's not clear how spoken language evolved from the communication systems of the ancestral great apes,” said Dr Lameira.
“Our research proves that orangutans have the potential capacity to control the action of their voices,” he further added.
Interestingly, before the discovery, it was believed that apes could not learn new sounds.
According to the findings published in the journal Scientific Reports, Rocky was studied at the Indianapolis Zoo, where he still lives. All the necessary measures were taken to make sure that his routine and environment were not disrupted.
During the study, one of the researchers produced random sounds, each with different pitch and tone.
Rocky then mimicked the sounds, which were different to the sounds on the database.