Quantcast
Connect with us

LISTEN: Elephants communicate long-distance using subsonic ‘infrasound’

Published

on

Scientists from the Elephant Listening Project (ELP) are beginning to crack the code of elephant language and learn how elephants communicate with each other over long distances through the use of sounds too deep for the human ear to perceive.

A report on NPR’s Morning Edition discussed the work of the animal linguists who study elephant communication, particularly biologist Katy Payne, who was the first person to detect song patterns in whale communication in the 1960s.

ADVERTISEMENT

Payne helped found the ELP in the 1980s to gain a better understanding of elephants and their society. The project’s website says that elephants are “long-lived, intelligent creatures with excellent memories and complex social relationships.”

In addition to the regular sounds that we hear elephants make, they also communicate with what is called infrasound, frequencies far too low for our ears to detect.

“It’s more like seismic waves,” explained NPR’s Christopher Joyce.

Payne first stumbled upon the realization that elephants were making these sounds when she was at a zoo in Portland, Oregon in 1984.

“I began to realize, every now and then, I was feeling a throbbing in the air,” she said, an experience she likened to singing Bach with a choir and an old pipe organ.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I realized that was the same feeling I got when I used to sing at Cornell in the Sage Chapel,” she told NPR. “It would go low, low, low. When the pipes go down, you begin to lose pitch — and pitch is replaced by feeling.”

“I thought, ‘Maybe the elephants are making sounds too low for me to hear, but powerful enough to feel,'” Payne said.

Payne enlisted the help of audiologists at Cornell University, who recorded the inaudible sounds, then sped them up to make them audible. She realized that what she was hearing had been two elephants — a male and a female — communicating back and forth through the walls of an enclosure.

ADVERTISEMENT

Further research revealed that the elephant sounds we can hear are only a fraction of the sounds they are making.

The elephants have flexible larynxes and long, loose vocal cords that they can rumble in such a way that the sound waves travel longer distances that human-audible sounds.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We realized that they may be coordinating the behavior of elephant populations over large areas,” Payne said, “that they — the infrasound rumbles — were being used over long distances.”

Listen to the story, embedded below:

ADVERTISEMENT

Listen to audio of elephant calls from the Portland Zoo sped up to be audible to the human ear:

Audio of an infant elephant searching for its mother:

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Julian Assange lawyer tells court: After pardon fell through, Trump administration resorted to ‘extortion’

Published

on

An attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the Trump administration of extortion in a London court on Monday.

The WikiLeaks attorney appeared at Woolwich Crown Court along with U.S. prosecutors, who argued that Assange should be extradited the United States, where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail.

Attorneys for Assange previously told the court that former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tried to broker a pardon deal between the White House and Assange if he would agree to say that Russia was not the source of hacked Democratic Party emails.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Black teens shocked after basketball announcer calls their names ‘disgusting’

Published

on

A longtime announcer at high-school basketball games in Oklahoma sparked outrage last week when he said that black players on the Crooked Oak High School lady's basketball team had "disgusting" names.

Local news station KFOR reports that the announcer made the remarks during a game between Crooked Oak and rival Newkirk High School on Friday.

In a video taken at the game, the announcer can be heard saying, "The Crooked Oak Lady Ruff Necks, now their names are pretty disgusting."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Money hungry mannequin’ Ivanka Trump buried for her taxpayer-funded ‘field trip’ to India with her dad

Published

on

Ivanka Trump was hammered on Twitter for posting pictures of her trip to India where she praised the "grandeur" of the Taj Mahal -- with herself featured front and center before it.

Donald Trump's daughter, a senior White House adviser, has taken to using her Twitter feed to promote herself (usually via photos or video clips) as she travels the world, presumably representing the United States. Monday morning's tweet was no exception, with the two pictures accompanied by, "The grandeur and beauty of the Taj Mahal is awe inspiring!" followed by emojis of the American flag and India's flag.

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image