A theory has been made for decades now that the African animal does not have a sound of its own, but giraffes are not as silent as thought according to a team of researchers who carefully studied the phenomenon. Nearly every animal has its own sound, but some are more quiet than others.
- Researchers recorded nearly 1,000 hours of audio content
- They found that giraffes hum in low frequencies between 35 Hz and 92 Hz
- It has been theorized that it could either be a means of communication, announcement or passive noise
Researchers called it “consuming, tedious and very challenging” work in order to observe that giraffes did make a very low sound indeed, to debunk previously established theories. And it’s quite understandable. They recorded and listened to 940 hours of near silence for giraffes across three zoos in Europe.
It was thought that they make very low frequency sounds that are inaudible to humans, like elephants do, or use infrasonic communication, but after nearly 1,000 hours of research, they found nothing of the sort. They don’t roar, oink or moo. Instead, they discovered something better.
After nightfall, giraffes make a very low humming noise between themselves, going as high as 92 Hz in frequency, which is incredibly quiet, and dipping as low as 35 Hz. According to Angela Stoger from the University of Vienna, “the results show that giraffes do produce vocalizations”, with the potential of it being a communication means to indicate the physical attributes of the caller, along with its intentions.
While it’s not clear how or why, the research has undoubtedly proven that the long-necked animals can indeed produce sounds that are audible to humans, just only at night and they’re very, very quiet.
It was suggested that, while giraffes have well developed larynx and laryngeal nerves, due to the length of their neck they have problems producing enough airflow in order to make a loud sound.
However, their research has managed to prove differently, which has surprised even zoo keepers, who had never heard the noise before they were presented with their findings. Animal behavior expert from Franklin & Marshall College, Meredith Bashaw, has stated that the sound might be passive, such as a human snoring or a dog barking in its sleep.
The assumptions were made due to the fact that the animals only hummed at night, which might also be for the purpose of announcing others of their locations when their vision is very limited in the dark. It could be possible that it is how mothers guide their young back to them.
There are many possible explanations, so researchers, who had nearly thrown in the towel after too many hours of endless recordings, are now looking forward to further study.
Image source: flickr.com