What Does the Giraffe Say? Scientists Find the Answer

COWS MOO, LIONS roar, and pigs oink. But for many years it’s been assumed that, except for the occasional snort, giraffes spent most of their lives in a tight-lipped silence. New research from a group studying animal sounds at the University of Vienna suggests giraffes might not be so quiet after all: They spend their evenings humming.

For decades zookeepers reported occasional snorts as the only sounds their charges made. The conventional explanation was that the long necks of giraffes caused their taciturn nature. Giraffes do have a larynx (voice box), but perhaps they couldn’t produce sufficient airflow through their 13-foot long (4 meter) trachea to vibrate their vocal folds and make noises.

The researchers suspected the reason no one heard giraffe communication was because the sound frequency was too low for humans to hear. Elephants and other large animals use an ultra-low frequency “rumble” for long-distance communication; why not giraffes?

Read more: Wired

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