|Michael A. Katz |||Nov 05, 2015 01:59 PM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) Researchers at a giant panda breeding center in China have deciphered13 different kinds of vocalizations within the endangered species' mysterious language.
Giant panda's have a mysterious language all their own, but researchers at a breeding center in southwest China have cracked through part of that language barrier by deciphering 13 different kinds of vocalizations.
For the past five years, the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) in Chian's Sichuan province has been working on a panda linguistics project, reports China state news agency Xinhua. They first recorded panda cubs and adults in the center in various situations, such aswhen they were eating, mating, nursing, and fighting.
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In that time, the researchers collected a large amount of data on pandas' voices and activities, and analyzed the voiceprints.
"We managed to decode some panda language and the results are quite interesting," Zhang Hemin, head of the CCRCGP told Xinhua.
According to Zhang, panda cubs can barely speak at all except to say things like "Gee-Gee" (I'm hungry), "Wow-Wow" (Not happy!) or "Coo-Coo" (Nice!).
"Adult giant pandas usually are solitary, so the only language teacher they have is their own mother," said Zhang.
The group found that when pandas begin to grow they can learn from their mother how to express themselves by roaring, barking, shout, squeaking, bleating and chirping.
"If a panda mother keeps tweeting like a bird, she may be anxious about her babies. She barks loudly when a stranger comes near," said Zhang, adding that pandas are gentle when they are "in love," as male pandas make sheep-like "bah" sounds when they are wooing a mate. The females respond with constant tweeting if they approve of their suitor.
"Trust me, our researchers were so confused when we began the project that they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep," said Zhang.
The CCRCGP says it will continue the study, and are looking forward to the invention of panda translator which may use high-tech voice recognition technology.
"If we can understand their language, it will help us protect the animal, especially in the wild," Zhang said.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the latest census in 2014 found that there were 1,864 giant pandas alive in the wild. At the end of 2013, there were 375 giant pandas in captivity, about 200 of which were at the CCRCGP.
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