From: New York Times
Listening to Elephants With Earthquake-Monitoring Tools
Detecting the vibrations that elephants create with their feet and vocalizations may be a useful tool to protect them from poaching.
With a trunk that produces 110-decibel blasts that can be heard for miles, elephants are well-equipped for long-distance communication. But it turns out they may be letting their feet do some of the talking, too.
Using tools designed for detecting earthquakes, researchers found that different elephant activities — walking, running, snorting, grunting — create distinct “seismic signatures” in the ground. In some cases, according to a study published Monday in the journal Current Biology, these vibrations travel farther through the ground than they could through the air, giving the animals a variety of powerful methods for long-distance communication.