How the elephant gets its infrasound | Science News

Love Science? Welcome Home.

Support Amazing Science Journalism.

Create the New Science Generation.


News

How the elephant gets its infrasound

Blowing air through a pachyderm’s larynx offers hints to low-frequency communication

By
2:04pm, August 2, 2012

Elephants don’t purr so much as sing when they unleash low-frequency rumblings at friends and foes kilometers away.

Too low for humans to hear, the infrasonic components of elephants’ calls have at times been attributed to a process similar to a cat’s contented thrum. But new measurements made by blowing air through the voice box, or larynx, of a deceased zoo elephant suggest that the mechanism is actually a (much bigger) analog to a person speaking or singing.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News