Body Language of Elephants

Body language isn't limited to humans - according to biologists Joyce Poole and her husband Petter Granli of ElephantVoices, elephants communicate with each other through elaborate gestures as well as sound:

Over the course of thousands of hours of observations, Poole came to understand and essentially translate what elephants were communicating to one another. She was also the first to discover musth in African elephants, a state of heightened sexual and aggressive activity in males, during which they display characteristic behaviors such as the gestures classified in the database as ear-wave, trunk-bounce-drag, head-toss, chin-in, and the distinctive musth-walk, a sort of elephant strut.

The image above of an elephant burying its tusk in the ground, shows that it has a sense of humor:

Poole recalls how elephants at play used to charge her car, appearing to trip and fall while tusking the ground (tusk-ground gesture) in front of her vehicle. “I used to think that they really did trip—no longer!” Poole said. “I have seen it enough times to know that pretending to fall over in front of the car is all part of the fun. It is one of the behaviors that led me to say that elephants have a sense of self and a sense of humor. They know that they are funny.”

Read the rest over at this neat article by Christy Ullrich over at NatGeo: Link - Thanks Marilyn!


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