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Elephants Can Speak

From Discovery:

An Asian elephant male named Koshik can imitate human speech, speaking words in Korean that others who know the language can understand, a Current Biology study determined.

The elephant’s vocabulary at present consists of at least five words: annyong (hello), anja (sit down), aniya (no), nuo (lie down), and choah (good). Given that elephants have a trunk instead of lips, it’s no small feat that Koshik can speak Korean.

“Some of the words were commands that Koshik learned to perform, such as ‘lie down’ and ‘sit down,’ or were given as feedback, and we have every reason to believe he understands the meaning of these words,” co-author Tecumseh Fitch, a professor of cognitive biology at the University of Vienna, told Discovery News.

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