The gentlemen’s club: Vocal communication in male African elephants

Aktivität: VorträgeVortragScience to Science


The prevailing theory about male elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus) was that, once sexually mature, males are solitary and mainly targeted at finding oestrous females. While this might be true during the competitive state of ‘musth’, male elephants generally are companionable animals exhibiting social relationships and long-distance communication.
Our current results on male vocal behavior of African elephants reveal that similar to females living in matriarchal family groups, individuality and context is transferred via bull vocalizations and that acoustic cues to size are particularly pronounced.
Further, male elephants have a distinct network of vocal recognition discriminating and preferentially moving towards the vocalizations of unfamiliar females. Males might use acoustic cues to assess mating opportunities, which may involve selection to identify individuals or kin in order to avoid inbreeding.
Social knowledge, companionship, hierarchy, reproductive competition and the need to communicate over long distances are the aspects that drive male elephant vocal behavior. Recent examples of vocal learning and sound invention (in both, African and Asian elephants) that occur particularly often in male individuals further highlight their extraordinary vocal plasticity and complexity. By increasing our knowledge on male vocal abilities we might finally achieve a more complete picture of elephant vocal behavior and how it relates to the specific life history of these iconic species.
Zeitraum31 Aug. 2019
EreignistitelXXVII International Bioacoustics Congress: XXVII International Bioacoustics Congress
OrtBrighton, Großbritannien / Vereinigtes KönigreichAuf Karte anzeigen