A recent study on the howling patterns of wolves, dogs, coyotes, and other canids shows that different species’ howls vary markedly, and could shed light on how the social family of animals communicates.
The study, published in the journal Behavioural Processes, aimed to analyze the vocal processes for species across the Canidae taxonomic family, which is comprised of wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, and dogs. Researchers took more than 2,000 howl samples from around a dozen canid species and fed them into a computer algorithm to look at how the various calls differed, and how they can be distinguished.
What they found was that howls, while varying in pitch, frequency, and fluctuation, could be grouped into 21 distinct types that correspond with different species. With each species making its own use of the different howl types, in a manner similar to human dialects, the researchers say the information could help better manage wild canine populations and track the animals in new ways.
Read more: Christian Science Monitor