June 19, 2024

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A new study shows that African elephants give each other unique names

A new study shows that African elephants give each other unique names

WASHINGTON – African elephants call each other and respond to individual names – something few wild animals do, according to The Guardian. New research published Monday.

The names are part of the low sounds elephants can hear over long distances across the savannah. Scientists believe that animals with complex social structures and family groups that separate and then reunite often may be more likely to use individual names.

“If you’re taking care of a large family, you should be able to say, ‘Hey, Virginia, come here!'” said Stuart Beam, an ecologist at Duke University who was not involved in the study.

It is very rare for wild animals to call each other with unique names. Humans have names, of course, and our dogs come when their names are called. Baby dolphins They invent their own names, called signature whistles, and parrots may use names as well.

Each of these nomenclature species also has the ability to learn to make unique new sounds throughout their lives, a rare talent that elephants also possess.

to Study of natural ecology and evolutionbiologists used machine learning to detect the use of nouns in an audio library of savannah elephant sounds recorded in Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve and Amboseli National Park.

The researchers followed the elephants in jeeps to observe who called and who seemed to respond — for example, if the mother called in a hurry, or if the mother called on a straggler who later joined the family group.

By analyzing just the audio data, the computer model predicted which elephant would be addressed 28% of the time, likely due to the inclusion of its name. When fed meaningless data, the model labeled only 8% of calls accurately.

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“Just like humans, elephants use nouns, but they probably don’t use nouns in the majority of their vocalizations, so we’re not expecting 100%,” said study author and Cornell University biologist Mickey Pardo.

Elephant gurgles include sounds below the range of human hearing. Scientists still do not know which part of the pronunciation the name is.

The researchers tested their findings by playing recordings of individual elephants, which responded more actively, flapping their ears and raising their trunks, to recordings containing their names. Sometimes, elephants completely ignored sounds directed at others.

“Elephants are incredibly social, always talking and coming into contact with each other — perhaps this nomenclature is one of the things that underpins their ability to communicate with individuals,” said co-author and Colorado State University ecologist George Wittmeyer, who is also a scientific advisor to Elephants. Non-profit organization “Save the Elephants”.

“We’ve just opened the door a little bit to the elephant mind.”