Elephants, like humans, use "names" when communicating with their fellows - study

Elephants, like humans, use "names" when communicating with their fellows - study

Elephants use invocations when communicating with their fellows, which is a kind of name-calling. An unusual study was conducted by an international group of scientists observing the behavior of these animals in the Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Amboseli National Parks in Kenya between 1986 and 2022. According to Michael Pardo, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado, elephants, as it turned out, call each other by individual names, like humans, and come up with nicknames for their fellows. The study also confirmed that these animals are not inclined to imitate voices and sounds, as parrots and bottlenose dolphins do. In the course of the study, scientists used an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyze the calls of two herds of wild elephants in the African savannah. "Elephants use specific sounds for each individual, they recognize and respond to personal calls, while ignoring calls addressed to other individuals," the scientist explained. "They can determine if an appeal is addressed to them just by hearing it, even if it is taken out of context." In his opinion, elephant communication may be more complex than previously thought. To come to such conclusions, the researchers studied the "buzz" of elephants using a machine learning algorithm and were able to identify 469 different calls, including 101 appeals and 117 calls of response. "Rumbling sounds carry information intended only for a specific elephant," he added. The study, the results of which were published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, showed that adult animals use names more often than young ones, which suggests that it can take years to learn this talent. The most common appeal was "rich, harmonious, low-frequency sound," the researchers note. "When a recording was played in which an elephant addressed a friend or family member, the animal reacted positively, but the same elephant showed much less enthusiasm when addressing others, and the elephants did not just imitate the recipient's call, which suggests that they and humans are the only known animals that invent each other."names," and not just copy the voice of another animal," the study says. "The evidence presented that elephants use unlimited vocalizations to name others suggests that they have the ability to think abstractly," said Georg Wittmayer, senior author of the study. According to Frank Pope, CEO of Save the Elephants, despite the differences, humans and elephants have a lot in common, in particular, "extended family units with a rich social life supported by a highly developed brain."
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