How Elephants Listen…With Their Feet | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on August 28, 2020

Thanks to curiosity stream for supporting PBS Digital Studios a rumble sounds on the African savannah the matriarch speaks urging the herd to leave the watering but the message reaches more than her own kin

Other elephants too far off for the sound to reach their ears get the message to MIT their feet a half hours march away arrival matriarch directs her own clan to the watering hole now that she knows it's

Free a roving solitary bull starts to move towards the matriarch scroll to hoping to find a mate scientists call this seismic communication it's how the world's largest land

Animals keep tabs on each other in a place where eyes and ears aren't always enough with vocal cords eight times the size of ours elephants send out two types of sound

Waves at once there are the high-frequency ones those travel quickly through the air and land on the ear they only go a short distance about a mile or so the second are low-frequency waves they move through the earth and travel

Much further at least five or six miles when elephants sends one of these low rumbles they halt and press their heavily padded feet to the ground that padding a huge ball of fat called a

Digital cushion spreads out as much as 20% dozens of touch receptors in the elephant's foot called pacinian corpuscles pick up these vibrations and send a signal to the brain

but hold up is that hearing or is it feeling well it turns out the line between those two senses is pretty fuzzy scientists think ground vibrations also travel through the elephant's skeleton

All the way to the ear that's how feeling becomes urine Katelyn O'Connell research his hearing at Stanford University School of Medicine in a series of experiments in Namibia she buried speakers in the ground then

She played common elephant calls to see what would happen when this herd hears an alarm call played from an aboveground speaker it means danger is close they retreat but when this same call is played underground they react more

Slowly they grow weary and close ranks but stay put when the elephant's get the message through their feet only it means the danger is farther away even an elephant's footsteps transmit useful

Information about its size and whereabouts to other elephants so if you know how to listen this dramatic landscape hums with signals and of sound holds a whole community together

Curiosity stream is a subscription streaming service that offers documentaries and nonfiction titles from a variety of filmmakers including curiosity stream originals you can learn more at curiosity stream comm deep look

And use the code deep look during the signup process these elephants live in a private refuge near San Andreas California in the wild African elephants walk for roughly 18 hours a day that naturally wears down their footpads so

Here at the refuge at least once a month they get a pedicure so go ahead pamper yourself subscribe to deep look we've got new episodes every two weeks see you next time

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