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Elephants have names for each other

Elephants have names for each other

They have names: A new study shows that elephants use individual names to call each other. Photo: George Whitmire/AP/NTB

Elephants call each other using individual names, according to a study published Monday.

In the study, an international research team used an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyze the calls of two wild herds of African savannah elephants in Kenya.

The research shows that in addition to using individual-specific sounds, elephants also recognize and respond to sounds directed at them. You ignore sounds that aren't directed at you, says Michael Pardo, who researches behavioral ecology at Colorado State University.

This suggests that elephants can determine whether someone is calling them just by hearing the sound used, he says.

When the researchers played a recording of an elephant to a friend or family member calling its name, the animal responded positively, according to the researchers. When the same elephant heard someone else's name, his reaction was much less enthusiastic.

The evidence presented here shows that elephants use specific sounds to call each other, indicating that they have the ability to think abstractly, says researcher George Whitmire.

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