Science study explores social memory in elephants

Experienced female elephants act as guardians of social knowledge, listening to other elephants calls and then signalling to their families who is friendly and co-operative and who might present problems by harassing calves or starting disputes. If these senior pachyderms cant immediately recognise friends versus foes, their families may spend too much time being defensive and not enough time reproducing. The results of a seven-year study are reported in the 20 April 2001 issue of Science. The UK and Kenya-based researchers also showed conclusively that the breeding success of elephant families is linked to the age of matriarchs, the females who lead family groups.

This finding has important implications for conservation as older, larger elephants are more likely to be targets for hunters and poachers, and killing these individuals is likely to weaken entire family units for years to come.

Using data on African elephants at the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya, the researchers showed that families with matriarchs aged 55 years or over were several thousand times more likely to bunch together defensively in response to calls from families they rarely encountered than families with which they often associated. In contrast, families with matriarchs aged 35 years were only 1.4 times more likely to respond to strangers than acquaintances. If senior elephants were simply more confident and relaxed overall, they would have been less responsive to all calls. In fact, the study suggests, their social skills are better and they recognise allies more easily.

The results were gained using high powered hi-fi equipment. Elephant calls were recorded to digital audio tape and then played back through custom-built bass box loudspeakers in the back of a Land Rover. The researchers then noted whether the elephants bunched togethermeaning the diameter of the group reduced in terms of elephant body lengths. The researchers al

Contact: Cherita Gonzales
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Future advances of 20,000-year-old coatings technology detailed in upcoming Science magazine
2. Sweet success on the way to vaccine for ulcers, stomach cancer, reported in Science
3. Grow-in-the-dark algae may promise dietary supplements, glowing pigments, and more, say Science authors
4. Discovery of tidal giant--a new Egyptian dinosaur--reported in Science
5. What it means to be a mammal: New clues from tiny fossil described in Science
6. Science study shows age, sex, weather, factors in fluctuating Soay Sheep population
7. Science paper suggests strategy to more effectively control harmful ozone
8. Panda habitat not protected by nature reserve, say Science researchers
9. "Soft" science? Fats health impacts are often oversimplified, Science news feature contends
10. Foot-and-Mouth disease: Can research offer solutions? Science feature examines prevention and detection efforts
11. Science and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech grand prize: "jumping DNA" discovery explains immune system evolution

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/14/2018)... ... August 13, 2018 , ... NRD, LLC – NRD® is ... Ionizing Gun. , The ionizing gun features ergonomic design and rugged construction. ... filter and electropolished OSHA-compliant tip. This can be cleanroom packaged (P-2021-5502) or normally ...
(Date:8/14/2018)... ... August 14, 2018 , ... From ... movie “Wonder,” to a better understanding of congenital heart defects, 3-D printing is ... the latest special issue of Birth Defects Research (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1367). ...
(Date:8/7/2018)... ... 06, 2018 , ... Nurse practitioners and ... their healthcare careers in the past year, according to the second annual survey ... jobseekers with a wide variety of career- and employment-related resources including physician/candidate database, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/24/2018)... ... ... R3 Stem Cell is now offering regenerative therapies for COPD lung disease ... Certified providers, with outcomes significantly improving patient quality of life. , Traditional therapies for ... help repair and regenerate damaged lung tissues. Stem cell therapy for COPD ...
(Date:7/24/2018)... ... 24, 2018 , ... On August 6, 2018, BioMedGPS will ... Not just a pretty face, SmartTRAK 3.0’s latest improvements were inspired by its ... world’s first online and real-time data portal that specializes in providing competitive market ...
(Date:7/22/2018)... ... July 19, 2018 , ... Mitotech ... with Essex Bio-Investment for Phase 3 clinical program in Dry Eye Disease. Under ... SkQ1 with approximately $17m allocated towards the first Phase 3 study starting as ...
(Date:7/22/2018)... ... July 20, 2018 , ... ... automation and IT solutions with 150 employees on both the east and west ... Program. Superior Controls met the high criteria for application expertise, operational excellence ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: