Watch: Seal sings the theme to Star Wars

A seal and the stars of Star Wars.
A seal and the stars of Star Wars. Photo credit: University of St Andrews/Lucasfilm

If you've ever wanted to hear a seal honk the theme to Star Wars, this is your lucky day.

No, not 'Kiss From a Rose' Seal - an actual seal.

Researchers in Scotland have taught three of the aquatic animals to mimic basic melodies and even human speech.

The tunes they've learned include a simplified version of John Williams' epic score to the 1977 blockbuster and 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.

"It takes hundreds of trials to teach the seal what we want it to do, but once they get the idea they can copy a new sound pretty well at the first attempt," Vincent Janik of the University of St Andrews told New Scientist.

They were able to duplicate tunes of up to 10 notes after hearing them only once - about the same as humans.

Whether the results are worth it is up to the listener - but the scientists are pretty excited, particularly by the seals' ability to mimic vowel sounds.

"Copies were not perfect, but given that these are not typical seal sounds it is pretty impressive," lead researcher Amanda Stansbury told the Press Association.

But don't expect to be chatting with seals anytime soon.

"Our study suggests that they have the production skills to produce human language. Whether they can make sense of it would be the next question," said Janik.

Their research was published this week in journal Current Biology.



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