2:37 PM PDT, September 13, 2021
After looking through a sound archive, a Dutch scientist a believes a duck in the 1980s learned how to swear.
An Australian musk duck was rumored to said to have used the phrase, “You bloody fool,” on a recording made by an Australian scientist in 1987. The infamous bird was named Ripper the Duck.
Though the details of Ripper the Duck’s background are lost to time, this animal behavior expert says the recordings show the bird knew the words.
“I thought ‘This must be a hoax, I don’t believe it’.” Animal behaviorist Carel ten Cate of the University of Leiden told Reuters. Playing the recording back ultimately convinced the Dutch scientist that it was true.
“…Through some steps in between I could approach this Australian sound archive where the recordings were deposited and it was only after receiving copies of these recordings that I was convinced ‘This is genuine,’” he said.
“It’s definitely based on the human voice, even though the pronunciation is a bit odd — which might be the Australian accent, I don’t know.”
While there are different birds that are known for their ability to mimic, ducks are not one of them. “…That’s quite extraordinary,” he said.
The fowl’s background and origin are said to be lost to time, but the expert says the recordings serve as proof that Ripper did indeed know the words.
“…It’s an independent evolutionary occurrence of the ability for vocal learning, so that’s very special.”