Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication

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Twenty-First Century Books, Mar 1, 2011 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 112 pages
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On a hot day in the African savannah, a group of elephants searches for food. While foraging they often lose sight of one another. Yet at the end of the day, in one coordinated movement, the elephants suddenly regroup. This coordinated movement—and others like it—has puzzled scientists and caused them to question how elephants communicate with each other.

Since the 1990s, scientists have gathered significant data on elephant “talk.” Biologists have determined that elephants use a complex system of communication of at least ten distinct sounds, combined in many variations. Researchers are now asking: what do these sounds mean?

As scientists study the elephant sounds that humans can hear, they are also identifying ways elephants communicate through nonverbal behaviors and making sounds too low for human ears. Scientists have realized that elephants even receive messages by using their sensitive feet to feel vibrations in the ground. All of these discoveries are helping elephant researchers better understand elephant behavior.

But the elephant’s time as a wild animal is running out. Threatened by habitat loss and illegally hunted for their ivory tusks, elephants are on the brink of extinction. Will understanding elephant talk be the key to saving the species?

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User Review  - Sullywriter - LibraryThing

Informative and interesting with great photographs and an attractive design. Read full review


A Tale Of Three Elephants
Born Into The Heart Of A Herd
Trumpets Rumbles And LongDistance Calls
Talking Through Walls Infrasound
Ear Flaps Trunk Curls And Elephant Perfume
Good Vibrations
Gods And Monsters The ElephantHuman Relationship
Authors Note
Source Notes
Selected Bibliography
Further Reading And Websites
Authors Acknowledgments
About The AuthorPhoto Acknowledgments
Back Flap
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About the author (2011)

Ann Downer was born in Virginia and spent part of her childhood in the Philippines and in Thailand. She is the author of five fantasy novels for young readers and three previous books about science, including the award-winning Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication for Twenty-First Century Books. Her first picture book, Shark Baby, was published in 2013. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. Their backyard is visited by woodchucks, skunks, and rabbits, but no bears--so far.

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