Friday, November 02, 2007

African elephants can learn to copy sounds

Studies have been found that elephants are able to mimic sounds they hear. This could be the first non primate, land mammals demonstrated to do vocal imitations. Joyce Poole who has studied elephant communication for years, documented one case of imitation after a friend raising an orphan African elephant told her of an odd noise that it made.
When Poole visited the orphanage in Tsavo, Kenya, she recorded a low-pitched sound that the adolescent female Mlaika made for several hours after sunset. The night stockade for the elephants stood 3 kilometers from the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, and Poole says that while recording calls and traffic noise, "I sometimes couldn't distinguish the sounds of the trucks from Mlaika calling."
Also, there was even an adult elephant that is 23 year old male African elephant that spent 18 years with two Asian elephants in a Swiss zoo. He routinely made chirpy calls, typical for his Asian companions but not for his own species.
Researchers feel that elephants are able to begin mimic certain sounds because they live social lives just as primates. Poole predicts that Asian elephants will also turn out to have powers of mimicry.



At 8:46 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Very nice article. It is interesting that elephants can mimic other species, and also other sounds made by machines. I am just wondering where was this study conducted and how long. And how different are these sounds that they are trying to mimic different from there own vocalizations they make.

posted by:
Balkrishna Gantyala(6)

At 9:29 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is an interesting topic. Can the Asian elephant also copy sounds or is it just the African elephants?

posted by: Jessica McDonnell

At 9:43 PM, Blogger PWH said...

It seems to me that this isn't much different then what a parrot does. But unlike a parrot an elephant is know for intelligence. The only thing that I can even fathom for this being useful is that baby elephants need to be able to mimic the calls of there elders. This is advantageous for them to know one elephant from the other.

posted by:
Andrew Thompson (6)

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous peanutbutter&jelly said...

peanutbutter&jelly said...

I thought this was a very interesting article. I found it very interesting because I have never heard anything like this before about elephants. I can't believe they can make the sounds of the trucks, like traffic sounds. I assuming that if they can mimic sounds that vehicles make then they must be able to mimic the sounds that us humans or birds make. This article seems really interesting it makes me want to go and find out more about elephants and even some of the other animals that might perform similar activities. I'm going to try searching for this and if I find anything about any other animal like the elephants I will put it as my post too. Great job! Very interesting!

Posted By: Peanutbutter&Jelly


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