WTF Fun Fact 13700 – The Purpose of Giraffe Humming

Have you ever heard the sound of a giraffe humming? Probably not.

One of the lesser-known facts about the animal kingdom is that giraffes, those towering mammals known for their long necks and spotted coats, communicate through humming.

Uncovering Giraffe Communication

For years, the consensus was that giraffes were largely silent creatures, communicating primarily through body language. However, recent studies have recorded giraffes humming to each other, particularly during the night.

This humming, described as a low, vibrating sound. This form of communication among these animals was previously undetected by humans.

The Purpose of Giraffe Humming

The exact reasons behind giraffe humming are still under investigation, but researchers propose several theories. One prevailing theory is that humming serves as a means of maintaining social bonds within the herd. This can be especially helpful in environments where visibility is low, such as at night.

Another theory suggests that mothers and calves hum to stay in contact with each other in the vast African savannahs they inhabit.

The discovery of giraffes humming to one another challenges previous notions of giraffe social structures being loosely organized. Instead, this form of communication points to a more complex social network where vocalizations play a crucial role in maintaining herd cohesion and facilitating interactions among individuals.

Challenges in Studying Giraffe Humming Communication

Studying giraffe vocalizations poses significant challenges due to their natural habitat and behavior. Giraffes are spread out across large areas, and their quiet, low-frequency hums are often at the edge of human hearing range.

Advanced audio recording equipment and patient observation during nighttime when giraffes are most vocal have been key in capturing these elusive sounds.

Conservation and Future Research

Understanding giraffe communication is not just an academic pursuit; it has real implications for conservation efforts. As giraffe populations face threats from habitat loss and poaching, insights into their social structures and behaviors can inform more effective conservation strategies. Future research aims to decode the meanings of different hums, offering further glimpses into the giraffes’ social world.

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Source: “Giraffes spend their evenings humming to each other” — New Scientist


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