They say dolphins and whales are among the smartest creatures in the sea. A professor at the prestigous Tokai University seems to think so too. Whales communicate through a process called echolocation, which basically means they emit a sound and listens for the echos for navigation as well as communication between other whales.
Professor Tsukasa Murayama has taught Nack, a beluga whale, how to recognize and repeat 3 different sounds associated with 3 different objects.
Nack, a whale at the Kamogawa Sea World marine park near Tokyo, emits a short, high-pitched sound when he sees a swimming fin, a long, high-pitched sound when he sees goggles and a short, low-pitched sound when he sees a bucket. Tokai University professor Tsukasa Murayama started training Nack after he became dissatisfied with hand-signals currently used to communicate with dolphins and whales.
Professor Murayama has said this breakthrough is the first time a conversation with a whale has taken place. I guess he believes that usually whales, at Sea World for instance, are just following commands from trainers, and it is not a conversation. I believe this is proof just how smart whales and dolphins really are.
Kanogawa Beluga whale performance: