Elephants can distinguish different human languages and know which ones belong to people with a history of confrontation with elephants
Elephants are known as one of the more intelligent animals out there. The phrase “memory like an elephant” didn’t start from nowhere, after all.
We already knew that they could distinguish between different groups of people by their clothes and smells, but a recent study has shown that they can actually do this with sound too.
The researchers took recordings of two tribes in Africa; one who hunted elephants and one who didn’t. When they played these recordings to 47 elephant families, the results suggested that the elephants reacted more defensively to the hostile tribe.
Not only that, but the elephants knew that men were more dangerous than women. The voices of woman and young boys from the peaceful tribe made the elephants react even less than the man from that tribe.
Most intriguingly, the researchers noted that elephant families led by matriarchs more than 42 years old never retreated when they heard the voices of boys, but those led by younger matriarchs retreated roughly 40% of the time. This means that it’s likely that elephants learn to better distinguish threats as they age.