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Thursday, December 11, 1997 Published at 07:16 GMT



Sci/Tech

Making a trunk call - by foot
image: [ Elephants can hear subsonic sound from as far away as 50km ]
Elephants can hear subsonic sound from as far away as 50km

New research into the behaviour of elephants has suggested they can communicate over long distances by stamping their feet.

Scientists from the University of California who carried out the work say they can send messages of alarm this way as far as 50 kilometres.

They made their discovery when microphones on the ground, checking how far an elephant's cry could travel, were overwhelmed by the thunderous sound of the foot-stamping.

Lynette Hart, of the University of California, and her colleagues found that the stomping carried at least five times further than their cries above or below the surface.

Yet the stomping is almost inaudible in the air, according to findings reported in the New Scientist magazine.

This explains reports of elephants running away from danger, even when it is far away.






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