Scientists have found a duck that can imitate speech but it can only say ‘you bloody fool’

Scientists have found a duck that can imitate speech but it can only say ‘you bloody fool’

  • A scientist in the Netherlands found recordings of a musk duck mimicking door slamming sounds and the phrase “You bloody fool.”
  • The recordings were taken by Australian researcher Dr Peter Fullagar more than 30 years ago.¬†
  • The scientists say that the recordings are evidence that musk ducks are like parrots in that they’re vocal language learners.

Scientists found recordings of a male duck mimicking human speech, but say it can only vocalize the phrase “you bloody fool.”

Retired Australian researcher Dr Peter Fullagar recorded the musk duck, named Ripper, more than 30 years ago while it was living at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve outside Canberra, but the recordings were recently resurfaced by Professor Carel ten Cate of Leiden University in the Netherlands,The Guardian reported.

Ten Cate said that the recordings also show Ripper imitating door slamming sounds.

Ripper is likely dead now, as musk ducks usually live to around 23 years old in captivity, according to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology.

But the findings provide evidence that musk ducks can join parrots, among other animals, as vocal language learners, ten Cate told the New Scientist.

“Vocal learning is a rare and special trait, so that makes this duck particularly special,” he said.

Ten Cate told the New Scientist that he verified the authenticity of Fullagar’s recordings using computer software, and believes Ripper learned “You bloody fool” from a human that raised him.

His research into Ripper was published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

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