Just like humans, elephants call each other by names

Elephants call each other using specific names for each animal, according to a study based on the observation of two wild herds in Kenya, published Monday in the scientific journal “Nature.”

Lead author of the study, Michael Pardo, said that the research “shows that elephants do not just use a specific sound for each elephant, but they also recognize a call directed at them and respond to it while ignoring calls directed at other elephants.”

A press release quoted Pardo, an expert in elephant communication at the University of Colorado, as saying that this study supports the idea that elephants can invent random names for each other.

Evidence comes from recordings made by the “Save the Elephants” association in the Samburu Reserve and Amboseli National Park in Kenya. After subjecting the recordings to an analysis program, a collection of 469 calls involving 101 calling elephants and 117 receiving elephants was obtained.

Thus, elephants join humans in their ability to assign a random name to a call recipient, without emitting a sound similar to the recipient’s. Until now, only two animal species, dolphins and parrots, were known to address specific animals of their kind by mimicking their sounds.

This type of communication is particularly remarkable in elephants. In practice, researchers observed that one elephant addressed another with a specific signal, which was not necessarily used by other elephants to address the same elephant. Additionally, the receiving elephant clearly recognized the caller and ignored the calls from other elephants.

George Wittemyer, a professor at the University of Colorado and supervisor of the study, stated that these observations “indicate that elephants possess an ability for abstract thinking.”

Adult elephants use these names more easily than younger ones, suggesting that the ability to create these names takes years to develop.

The study suggests that the social behavior of elephants may have contributed to the development of this communication ability.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Verified by MonsterInsights