Study shows how elephants produce their deep 'voices'
The same physical mechanism produces vocalizations in elephants and humans
African elephants are known to be great communicators that converse with extremely low-pitched vocalizations, known as infrasounds, over a distance of miles. These infrasounds occupy a very low frequency range—fewer than 20 Hertz, or cycles, per second—that is generally below the threshold of human hearing.
Now, a new study shows that elephants rely on the same mechanism that produces speech in humans (and the vocalizations of many other mammals) to hit those extremely low notes. Christian Herbst from the University of Vienna, along with colleagues from Germany, Austria and the United States, used the larynx of a recently deceased elephant to recreate some elephant infrasounds in a laboratory.