Who Needs a Talking Whale? Meet Koshik, the Talking Elephant

Trending News Channel
Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Nov. 2 2012 9:44 AM

Who Needs a Talking Whale? Meet Koshik, the Talking Elephant

A late beluga whale named NOC recently charmed the nation when researchers in California revealed that he could mimic human speech. Now comes word of an Asian elephant named Koshik who can “talk” to his trainer.

Koshik can parrot exactly five words: the Korean expressions for "hello," "sit down," "no" "lie down," and "good." Listen above to hear him attempt "annyong," or "hello."


The gifted elephant pulls off his rare feat by placing his trunk in his mouth, a method that made it difficult for researchers to tell exactly how he does it. They were most impressed that he can match both human pitch and timbre, given that he has no lips and giant vocal chords.

Koshik is not the first elephant to mimic humans, but the study says he spent his social formative years with humans and no other elephants—possibly explaining why he developed his peculiar habit.

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate Video assistant editor. Follow him on Twitter.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.