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Elephants call each other by name. This is a unique feature

Until now, zoologists knew only two species of animals that could communicate with each other using a specific “name”. Now elephants have joined this elite group.

The study covered the grunts of female African elephants and their offspring, recorded between 1986 and 2022 in Kenya. In fact managed to distinguish 469 contacts between these animals, of which 101 large mammals were the senders of the message and 117 were the recipients. The results were published in the journal Nature. How did elephants communicate with each other?

Can we clear our throats?

As this observation shows, elephants are able to address each other with the equivalent of a name that is characteristic of each individual. It's about specific vocalization, which other representatives of this species perfectly recognize as a call towards them. At the same time, it may also mean that these animals are able to invent these arbitrary “names” for themselves, therefore they may also have the ability to think abstractly.

Interestingly, specific names of elephants were sometimes reserved only for a select few. The characteristic sound that was supposed to call another representative of this species was not always used by the other animals in the herd in relation to the same case. Themselves sounds in the form of grunts are used only in long-distance communication. They most often appear in the case of adults who address younger ones in this way. According to scholars, this indicates that this skill requires many years of study. In my opinion, however, this may also simply be a manifestation of a typical parent who is simply trying to keep an eye on his child.

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