How Did a Duck Know That ‘You’re a Bloody Fool’


In 1987, a The Australian researcher recorded a male musk duck named Ripper making a sound much like “You’re bloody crazy,” with sounds like a slamming door and a soft squeak. -ungol. The second duck in the region was recorded in 2000 mimicking the call of the black duck in the Pacific. Both records survived, but they were never analyzed in any detail, and most of the accompanying records were destroyed by a fire that broke out in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in 2003.

Now retired, original researcher Peter J. Fullagar, teamed up with Carel ten Cate, a biologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, to conduct the first in -depth analysis of the recordings. That analysis confirmed that Ripper’s uniform vocalization was actually a form of imitation-perhaps the first comprehensively recorded example of musk ducks mimicking sounds. The researchers described their findings in a new paper published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, about a special issue in the study of the vowel in animals and humans.

Definitions of what constitutes so-called vocal-production learning may vary, but if an animal raised alone produces vocalizations that drift away from what is typical of the species or can. to imitate the sounds of other species, that is considered evidence for the phenomenon Learning to make a vowel is important in human language and language development, but there are few confirmed reports about it in animal species – in particular, whales, dolphins, bats, elephants, songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds.

Ducklings get their name from the fragrant smell produced by males during mating. Males are generally up to three times larger than females and sport a large, black lobe that is under the bill that can be a nimble or “turgid” state. Males shown to press may involve raising and lowering the tails and kicking sideways and backwards with the feet to produce multiple sprays of water. Men are also known to perform sizzling vocalizations and flatter their turgid lobes to attract women. Musk ducks are the only living member of their particular genus and are only related to other birds that are able to mimic the sounds of their barking.

Lonely Boy

Males are so aggressive that musk ducks are rarely bred in captivity, but the Ripper is an exception. She was hatched from an egg in September 1983 in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve southwest of Canberra. A foster hen performs the duties of brooding for the egg, but after hatching, Ripper is raised and fed by human handlers in isolation.

When he was a week old, Ripper was moved to a small pond with other prey waterfowl and afterwards hidden in a small ballpoint pen hidden from public view in the small plant. According to the authors, this ballpoint pen is divided into two spaces, which are connected by holes below the water level. Two female ducks from another reserve can hit the holes, but Ripper can’t. The women were in the adjacent space when Ripper performed his legendary vocalization.

Fullagar recorded the Ripper on a Sony Walkman Professional cassette recorder and Sennheiser MKH 816 microphone on July 19 and 26, 1987, when the musk duck was 4 years old. The meetings were accompanied by a slamming-door sound (whuk whuk whuk) mimicking the opening and closing of a double-hung spring door near the place where Ripper was hidden for the first few weeks after hatching. Sometimes the sound of the slamming-door was followed by a soft moan that sounded like but unintelligible words. More interesting sounds like Ripper saying, “You bloody fool!” – recorded when Fullagar was near “because that is the way to get angry [Ripper] as shown, “the authors wrote.

The recordings were kept in the Australian National Wildlife Collection but remained unnoticed by researchers for decades until ten Cates heard about it. “When I first read it I thought,‘ It’s a hoax, it’s not real, ’” ten Cate SAY The Keeper. “But it turned out to be true.”



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