Monday, March 30, 2015
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In a new study researchers have found elephants can distinguish between human languages and can also understand whether a voice comes from a boy, a man or a woman.
The researchers played voice recordings of different people in Kenya for the elephants and found the animal has advanced thinking skill that is not found in other animals and this built-in quality of it helps in figuring out who is a threat and who is not.
One of the authors of the study, Karen McComb, said as humans are studying elephants, similarly they too are studying human beings and store it in their memory.
McComb is from University of Sussex in England. He released his study yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The author and his colleagues studied the elephants in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. They used voice recordings of Maasai men and Kamba men. The same phrase was played in two different languages.
Maasai men are know for killing the elephants in confrontation over grazing for cattle where as the other men are not a threat to the animals.
The recorded voice in English was – “Look over there. A group of elephants is coming.”
In the result the researchers found by about two-to-one margin the animals defensively reacted to the Maasai language.
Co-author Graeme Shannon from Colorado State University said the elephants are able to acquire detailed knowledge and it is probably due to the large size of their brain.