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Elephants Actually Flap Their Ears, Waggle Their Tails, Stretch Out Their Trunks, And Make Rumbling Noises To Say Hello To Each Other

sichkarenko_com - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual elephants

When African elephants meet up with their friends, they greet them with a mix of vocalizations and gestures in a way that’s similar to what humans do.

New research has found that they flap their ears, make rumbling sounds, waggle their tails, and stretch out their trunks to say hello to each other. The details of the study were published in the journal Communications Biology.

Elephants are very intelligent and social creatures. The structure of the type of societies they live in involves splitting up with one another regularly and reuniting at a later time as they wander the expanse of their habitat.

After spending some time apart, elephants appear to greet each other, engaging in something called multimodal communication.

At first, researchers weren’t sure if the elephants were communicating intentionally. To better understand their body movements and other methods of greeting, the researchers worked with nine African savannah elephants at the Jafuta Reserve in Zimbabwe.

These elephants are considered semi-captive as they are allowed to roam freely during the day but sleep in stables at night. The group included four females and five males.

The researchers first identified which elephants were familiar with one another. Then, they separated pairs of elephants that were well-acquainted for around 10 minutes.

Afterward, they brought the elephants back together and watched their greeting process. Overall, the scientists recorded a total of 1,014 physical movements and 268 vocalizations during 89 reunions.

Among the elephants, the most common greeting was a low rumbling noise accompanied by ear flapping. Females used this combination of greetings more than males.

sichkarenko_com – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual elephants

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