Elephants Use Different ‘Words’ to Signal Danger

11:43 minutes

Despite their size, African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are scared of bees, and will run away shaking their ears if they hear buzzing. Joseph Soltis, a research scientist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, says elephants have a repertoire of rumbles, and use different sounds to alert the herd of danger from humans or bees. Soltis says the alarm rumbles are more akin to elephant “words” than true language.

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Joseph Soltis

Joseph Soltis is a research scientist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

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About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.

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