SEOUL, South Korea (November 2, 2012)--An elephant in a South Korean zoo uses his trunk to pick up not only food, but also human vocabulary, scientists say.
An international team of researchers says the elephant named Koshik can reproduce five Korean words by tucking his trunk inside his mouth and modulating the sound coming from his throat.
The discovery was reported online Friday in Current Biology.
Researchers believe the Asian elephant with two tusks learned to speak out of a desire to bond with his trainers after he was separated from two other elephants.
In 1983, zoo officials in Kazakhstan claimed their elephant could reproduce Russian words, but there was no scientific study.