Orangutan’s Super-Freaky ‘Talking’ Sheds New Light On Human Speech

She’s not exactly talking, but a female orangutan at the Cologne Zoo in Germany has been making vocalizations that bear an eerie resemblance to human speech (just check out the video above).

“These calls were produced by quickly opening and closing the lips, much like humans do when talking,” Dr. Adriano Lameira, co-founder and president of the Dutch orangutan research non-profit Pongo Foundation and leader of a recent study of the orangutan’s calls, said in a written statement. “One of these calls presented similarities with human consonants, and the other with human vowels, the two basic building blocks of human speech.”

It’s unnerving for sure, but that’s not all. Scientists say the orang, named Tilda, may help solve the longstanding mystery of how human speech evolved.

How did Tilda, who has spent nearly 50 years in captivity, ever learn to make those sounds? Records about her early years are scant, but the researchers believe she must have been trained at some point to perform several humanlike behaviors–including clapping her hands, waving her arms, and whistling in addition to producing speechlike sounds.

For their research, Lameira and his colleagues recorded Tilda making the sounds, and then compared their rhythm to —> Read More Here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *