Elephants prove discerning listeners of us humans



This handout photo provided by the University of Sussex, taken in April 2011, shows a wild elephant in Amboseli National Park in Kenya reacting to sound played by scientists in experiments that show they can distinguish between human languages and genders. Elephants are so clever they use their famed memory to be discriminating listeners of us humans. That way they can determine who is a threat and who isn’t, according to study released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This is an advanced thinking skill that no other non-human animal have demonstrated, scientists say. (AP Photo/Graeme Shannon, University of Sussex)             

Elephants prove discerning listeners of us humans  — Dr. Seuss had it right: Horton really does hear a Who. Wild elephants can distinguish between human languages, and they can tell whether a voice comes from a man, woman or boy, a new study says.

That's what researchers found when they played recordings of people for elephants in Kenya. Scientists say this is an advanced thinking skill that other animals haven't shown. It lets elephants figure out who is a threat and who isn't.

The result shows that while humans are studying elephants, the clever animals are also studying people and drawing on their famed powers of memory, said study author Karen McComb.

"Basically they have developed this very rich knowledge of the humans that they share their habitat with," said McComb , a professor of animal behavior and cognition at the University of Sussex in England.

"Memory is key. They must build up that knowledge somehow."

The study was released Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It's close but not quite like the Dr. Seuss book, where the empathetic elephant Horton hears something that others can't hear.

McComb and colleagues went to Amboseli National Park in Kenya, where hundreds of wild elephants live among humans, sometimes coming in conflict over scarce water. The scientists used voice recordings of Maasai men, who on occasion kill elephants in confrontations over grazing for cattle, and Kamba men, who are less of a threat to the elephants. The recordings contained the same phrase in two different languages: "Look over there. A group of elephants is coming."

By about a two-to-one margin, the elephants reacted defensively — retreating and gathering in a bunch — more to the Maasai language recording because it was associated with the more threatening human tribe, said study co-author Graeme Shannon of Colorado State University.

"They are making such a fine-level discrimination using human language skills," Shannon said. "They're able to acquire quite detailed knowledge. The only way of doing this is with an exceptionally large brain."

They repeated the experiment with recordings of Maasai men and women. Since women almost never spear elephants, the animals reacted less to the women's voices. The same thing happened when they substituted young boys' voices.

"Making this kind of fine distinctions in human voice patterns is quite remarkable," said Emory University animal cognition expert Frans de Waal, who was not part of the study.

While it shows quite a bit about elephant intelligence and adaptability, it also indicates a problem, said biologist Josh Plotnik, founder of Think Elephants International, a research and advocacy group.

"This is both fascinating in that it supports evidence we already have that these animals are behaviorally quite flexible, but also sad because it suggests that the conflict between humans and elephants is growing," Plotnik, who was not part of the study, wrote in an email.

In yet another experiment McComb and Shannon altered female and male voices, making female voices sound male by lowering their tone and resonance, and males sound female by raising their pitches. Those kinds of changes fool most humans, but the clever elephants weren't tricked, McComb said. They still moved away from the altered male voices and not the altered female voices.

This article originally appeared in : Elephants prove discerning listeners of us humans | Associated Press | By SETH BORENSTEIN March 10, 2014 3:17 PM




No comments:

Post a Comment

Abraham Lincoln Accident Acting Adele Adolf Hitler Ahok Air Susu Ibu Aisha Gaddafi Albert Einstein Alicia Keys Alien Amanda Knox American Idol Amitabh Bachchan Amy Winehouse Angelina Jolie Animal Anna Chapman Anti Islam Apple Archeology Arnold Schwarzenegger Artist Aung San Suu Kyi Autism Avatar Barack Obama Bencana Alam Berpelukan Biography Blake Fielder Blog Bollywood Bon Jovi Brad Pitt Britney Spears Brittany Murphy Broadway Bruce Willis Bryan Adams Buah - Buahan Budaya Cameron Diaz Carla Bruni Celebration Celebrity Cell Phone Charlie Sheen Christina Aguilera Christopher Tierney Computer Conspiracy Credit Card Criminal Cristiano Ronaldo David Cameron David Walliams Demi Moore Depression Diet Dinosaurs Disaster Discovery Economic Elin Nordegren Elton John Elvis Presley Evolution Facebook Famous Farrah Fawcett Fashion Fenomena Fidel Castro Film Finance Fisikologi Anak Frank Sinatra Games Gary Lineker Global Warming Grammy Awards Guns N' Roses Haji Halle Berry Harry Potter Health Helen Mirren Helena Christensen History Hoaxes Holiday Hollywood Home Hong Kong Hugo Chavez Humanity Humor Ibadah Ramadhan iChildren Innocence of Muslims Insomnia Insurance Internet Irina Shayk Isaac Newton James Franco Jane Fonda Janet Jackson Javier Bardem Jennifer Aniston Jennifer Lopez Jermaine Jackson Jesus Jewelry Jhon Terry Joaquin Phoenix John Lennon John Prescott Jokowi Journalism Julia Roberts Justin Bieber Karina Smirnoff Kate Middleton Katherine Heigl Katy Perry Kehamilan Kendra Wilkinson Kesehatan Payudara Kesehatan Rambut Kiamat Kim Kardashian King Abdullah King Abdullah II King Salman Korupsi Indonesia Kristen Stewar Lady Diana Lady GaGa Law Lee DeWyze Legend Leonardo DiCaprio Lifestyle Lily Allen Lindsay Lohan Lionel Messi Madonna Margaret Thatcher Mariah Carey Marilyn Monroe Mario Balotelli Mark Zuckerberg Marriage Mel Gibson Michael Jackson Michelle Obama Mick Foley Mick Jagger Mike Tyson Miley Cyrus Miranda Kerr Miss Universe Mistery Mitos dan Fakta Moammar Gadhafi Modelling Mona Lisa Money Mothers Music Mystery Naomi Watts Nelly Furtado News Nia Sanchez Nicolas Cage No Smoking Nuclear Obat - Obatan Olivia Newton-John's Oprah Winfrey Orang Kantoran Oscars Pamela Anderson Parent Paris Hilton Pasangan Hidup Patricia Neal Paul McCartney Pejabat Pendidikan Penelope Cruz Performers Permainan Anak Personality Photo Pippa Middleton Pisikologi Remaja Politics Pollution Prince Charles Prince Felipe Prince George Prince Harry Prince Philip Prince Salman Prince William Princess Princess Diana Princess Lilian Princess Victoria Producer Produk Kecantikan Queen Elizabeth Queen Helen Relationships Religion Ri Sul-Ju Ricky Martin Rihanna Rokok Rolling Stone Royal Baby Royal Family Salma Hayek Sandra Bullock Sarah Palin Scandal Science Scientists Selena Gomez Sepak Bola Serena Williams Shah Rukh Khan Sharon Stone Simon Cowell Songwriter Sophie Reade Space Spiritual Sport Storm Stress Suami Isteri Super Bowl Sylvester Stallone Taylor Swift's Technology Television Teroris Tiger Woods Tips and Tricks Tips Kesehatan Tips Komputer Tips Pria Tom Cruise Tony Curtis Top 10 Travel Van Halen Vatican Victoria Beckham Wedding Whitney Houston Woman World Cup Yahudi Yoga Zsa Zsa Gabor