It’s the raspy, low voice that’s synonymous with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and Julia Fox.
But “vocal fry” — characterized by the dragging out of certain syllables during a sentence — is also used by whales and dolphins to capture prey, researchers have found.
A new study reveals that marine mammals such as the sperm whale, orca, oceanic dolphins and porpoises have developed an air-driven nasal sound with clear similarities to a particular American accent.
Until now it has remained a mystery how these animals – also known as toothed whales – produce sound that can travel far and fast in murky and dark water, up to 2 km deep.
Scientists from Denmark recorded sounds from both trained dolphins and wildlife.
‘Vocal fry’ is used by whales and dolphins to capture prey, researchers have found. Pictured: an MRI scan of a harbor porpoise
Many celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian (pictured), Paris Hilton and Julia Fox, speak with “vocal fry” – a raspy, low voice that conveys certain syllables
They found that, like humans, these animals have at least three vocal registers: the fry vocal register, also called crack voice, which produces the lowest notes, the chest register, which is similar to our normal speaking voice, and the falsetto register. register that produces even higher frequencies.
WHAT IS ‘VOCAL FRY’?
“Vocal fry” involves lengthening certain syllables so that they vibrate in the back of the throat, creating a tapping sound like a stick running over a railing.
With vocal fry the phrase ‘no way’ becomes ‘no waaaaaaay’ and ‘whatever’ changes to ‘whateverrrrrr’.
It’s been compared to the way Britney Spears scratches the line “Oh baby, baby” in her number one hit “Baby One More Time.”
Study leader Professor Coen Elemans, a voice scientist at the University of Southern Denmark, said: ‘Vocal fry is a normal voice register commonly used in American English.
“Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Scarlet Johannsen are famous people who use this registry.”
Examples of vocal boy in humans are: “Oh my gaaaaawd” or “shut uuuuup.”
According to the new research, published in the journal Science, certain whales and dolphins use this vocal firing register to produce their echolocation calls to capture prey.
And when using vocal fry, the vocal cords are only open for a very short time, which means that the animals use very little air to breathe.
Professor Peter Madsen, from Aarhus University in Denmark, said: ‘This air economy makes it particularly ideal for echolocation.
“During deep dives, all the air is compressed to a minuscule fraction of its volume at the surface.”
When toothed whales hunt in deep and murky waters, they produce short, powerful, ultrasonic echolocation clicks at rates of up to 700 per second to locate, track, and capture prey.
Just like humans, whales and dolphins have at least three vocal registers: the fry vocal register, also known as the cracking voice, which produces the lowest notes, the chest register, which is similar to our normal speaking voice, and the falsetto register, which produces even tones. produces. higher frequencies
Marine mammals such as the sperm whale, orca (stock image), oceanic dolphins, and porpoises have evolved an air-driven nasal sound with marked similarities to a particular American accent.
“Vocal fry gives whales access to the richest food niches on Earth – the deep ocean,” Professor Madsen added.
“While vocal fry can be controversial in humans and can be perceived as anything from annoying to authoritative, it has undoubtedly made toothed whales an evolutionary success story.”
The Danish team also discovered what exactly happens when whales produce sound.
The animals have developed an air-driven sound production system in their noses, which allows much higher driving pressures – up to five times what a trumpeter can generate – without damaging lung tissue.
Study leader Professor Coen Elemans, a voice scientist at the University of Southern Denmark, said: ‘Vocal fry is a normal voice register commonly used in American English.’ In the photo: Julia Fox speaks with vocal fry
This high propulsion pressure allows toothed whales to make the loudest sounds of any animal on earth.
In echolocation, the animals pressurize air in their noses and pass it through structures called phonic lips, which vibrate just like human vocal folds.
Their acceleration produces sound waves that travel through the skull to the front of the head.
In addition to echolocation, toothed whales use their chest and falsetto registers for complex social communication.
The findings were presented at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.
Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Julia Fox might get a rude awakening! Women who speak husky “vocal fry” are perceived as less intelligent and attractive, research finds
Many celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Julia Fox, speak with “vocal fry” – a raspy, low voice that drags along certain syllables.
The low accent is a common way of speaking in California, but is being picked up around the world thanks to the popularity of the American media.
Unfortunately for those who have adopted the accent, a new study has found that women who speak with it are considered less intelligent and attractive.
However, the University of Florida researchers found no difference in the impression it gave when used by men.
A new study has found that women who speak with vocal fry are perceived as less intelligent and attractive. Pictured: Average attractiveness scores for people with and without vocal fry