Enlarge Image

This blue whale showed up at the perfect time during a taping for a live TV special called “Big Blue Live.” Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET
Have you ever wondered what certain animals might sound like if they could speak your language? If so, you probably live in a state with loose marijuana laws, but I digress.
Take, for instance, the mighty blue whale. This gigantic beast of the ocean may look slow and lumbering, but if it could talk, it might just be the funniest creature in the animal kingdom. A video posted to the BBC’s Earth Unplugged YouTube channel Tuesday shows that it seems to know a lot about the importance of comic timing.

The video shows zoologist and TV host Mark Carwadine standing on a boat during a whale-watching expedition and explaining how hard it can be to spot whales in the ocean when one suddenly shows up right on cue. If the whale could actually talk, it might have said something like “Who, lil’ ol’ me?” and that would definitely become one of those annoying TV catchphrases you never stop hearing in offices and bars.

The video, spotted on ViralViralVideos and posted below, was made for an upcoming TV series co-produced by the BBC and PBS called “Big Blue Live” that plans to show live footage of marine animals in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California.
We do know, of course, that the whale probably didn’t intend to time a joke just right while the host was speaking. But there are studies that explore the existence of a sense of humor in other animal species.

A study published in 2008 in the International Journal of Humor Research says that apes “appreciate and produce humor in a manner comparable to humans,” according to the study’s abstract. Another study published in 2010 in the journal Communicative & Integrative Biology found that apes exhibit “tickle-induced vocalizations” similar to the sounds of laughter made by humans and also “laugh primarily in the context of social play and tickling.”
Let’s just hope some scientist never tries to gauge the sense of humor of an animal by making it watch Adam Sandler’s latest movie. That might constitute animal cruelty.

Leave a Reply