African elephants have expectations about the locations of out-of-sight family members

Bates, Lucy A, Sayialel, Katito N, Njiraini, Norah W, Poole, Joyce H, Moss, Cynthia J and Byrne, Richard W (2008) African elephants have expectations about the locations of out-of-sight family members. Biology Letters, 4 (1). pp. 34-36. ISSN 1744-9561

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Abstract

Monitoring the location of conspecifics may be important to social mammals. Here we use an expectancy-violation paradigm to test the ability of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) to keep track of their social companions from olfactory cues. We presented elephants with samples of earth mixed with urine from female conspecifics that were either kin or unrelated to them, and either unexpected or highly predictable at that location. From behavioural measurements of the elephants’ reactions, we show that African elephants can recognize up to 17 female family members from cues present in the urine-earth mix, and that they keep track of the location of these individuals in relation to themselves.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: elephants; olfaction; urine; individual recognition.
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology > QL0750 Animal behaviour
Q Science > QZ Psychology
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Depositing User: Dr Lucy Bates
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2018 14:53
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 14:53
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78513

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