Researchers have published an audio recording of Ripper, an Australian musk duck, saying “damn stupid.”
The 34-year-old recording appears to be the earliest documented proof of the species’ ability to imitate noises.
Peter Fullagar, a researcher at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Canberra, captured Ripper’s image back in 1987.
Recent discoveries of his recordings came from Professor Carel ten Cate of Leiden University in the Netherlands.
In his study on avian vocal learning, Professor Ten Cate stumbled found a curious reference to a talking musk duck that could replicate other sounds, such as slamming doors.
Prof. Ten Cate told the university’s website, “This was a major surprise… it had gone unreported by voice learning researchers until now”.
Because of this, it is a highly unique rediscovery.
The ability to mimic sounds is an uncommon one. However, most animals do not appear to be capable of vocal learning.
The most known of these are parrots, which are able to replicate the sound.
“Vocal learning is unusual, even for this group,” Professor Ten Cate added.
A songbird may learn to create a certain sound. We know this because we’ve seen it with parrots and hummingbirds. Vocal learning evolved in the ancestors of several of these animals.