Ripper the Talking Duck Was Recorded Back In 1987 by Researcher Dr. Peter Fullagar
Dr. Fullagar recorded Ripper at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra decades ago, and until recently, the audio had been lost. That is until it was rediscovered by Professor Carel ten Cate of the Leiden University, Netherlands. Professor Carel ten Cate had been researching birds that are capable of vocal learning when he came across a reference to a talking musk duck that used to imitate sounds like speech and even a slamming door.
Professor Carel ten Cate Was Amazed That the Recording of Ripper the Talking Duck Was Not Noticed Sooner
According to Professor Carel ten Cate, the discovery of Ripper the talking duck came as a big surprise to him. He also pointed out how he found it amazing that it had remained unnoticed by vocal learning researchers until now. Professor ten Cate also said that this made the event a very special rediscovery.
Apparently, mimicking sounds is a rare characteristic among all animals. While there is evidence of vocal learning in whales, dolphins, bats, and elephants, it does not appear that it is in the nature of most mammals. It is most common among birds like parrots and ravens, who can easily mimic some sounds. Still, according to the Professor, vocal learning is rare for this group of animals as well.
The professor also stated that many species of songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds are known for being able to learn to produce specific sounds. He then cleared things out by saying that this is because vocal learning originated in those groups’ ancestral species. Previously, researchers assumed that vocal learning was shown in only three of the thirty-five orders of birds, but now thanks to Ripper the talking duck, Professor ten Cate can introduce a new order to the group.