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Scientists' first-of-its-kind human-to-whale conversation could lead to alien contact
Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Scientists' first-of-its-kind human-to-whale conversation could lead to alien contact

The exchange lasted for 20 minutes

We may be one step closer to communicating with aliens.

While movies like Paul show aliens speaking our language, the likelihood of extraterrestrials (if they're out there) speaking English is probably quite slim.

With this in mind, scientists are hoping a previously successful conversation between humans and whale could help them work out how to reach out to aliens.

The conversation between scientists and humpback whale Twain - no relation to Shania - took place in southeast Alaska in 2021.

Twain communicated with researchers for a phenomenal 20 minutes after playing what's known as a 'contact call' into the ocean for her to respond to.

Similar to humans saying 'hello' to one another, whales use contact calls to call over to other whales and let them know where they are.

Twain actually swam up to the researchers boat and circled the vessel for the duration of their communication.

Scientists emitted the same contact call 36 different times at varying intervals - and Twain responded to each one.

Scientists said they had a 20 minute conservation with a humpback whale.
Getty Stock Image

Two years on from the successful experiment, a new paper that looks into how the conversation with Twain could be used as 'a tool for detecting and exploring nonhuman intelligence' has been published by the SETI Institute.

SETI was also behind the 2021 study of how whales communicate.

The study's lead author, Dr Brenda McCowan of U.C. Davis, said in a news release: "We believe this is the first such communicative exchange between humans and humpback whales in the humpback 'language'."

Dr Laurance Doyle of the SETI Institute, a co-author on the paper, added: "Because of current limitations on technology, an important assumption of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is that extraterrestrials will be interested in making contact and so target human receivers.

"This important assumption is certainly supported by the behavior of humpback whales."

Aliens might be trying to reach out to us, just like we are to them.
Universal Pictures

He went on to note in a conversation with Business Insider that if aliens are in fact trying to reach out to us, we might miss them if we don't know what to look out for.

But, by using intelligence filters such as the ones used to speak to Twain, it could help scientists identify intelligence signals from space too.

"There are diverse intelligences on this planet, and by studying them, we can better understand what an alien intelligence might be like, because they're not going to be exactly like ours," Dr McCowan explained.

The whole theory is based on the idea that aliens are trying to get in touch with us as, and if they're intelligent like we are, there's a good chance they're just as curious about us as we are them...

Topics: News, Science, Animals, Space, Aliens