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Sample records for african elephant vocalizations

  1. How many rumbles are there? Acoustic variation and individual identity in the rumble vocalizations of African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soltis, Joseph M.; Savage, Anne; Leong, Kirsten M.

    2004-05-01

    The most commonly occurring elephant vocalization is the rumble, a frequency-modulated call with infrasonic components. Upwards of ten distinct rumble subtypes have been proposed, but little quantitative work on the acoustic properties of rumbles has been conducted. Rumble vocalizations (N=269) from six females housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom were analyzed. Vocalizations were recorded from microphones in collars around subject necks, and rumbles were digitized and measured using SIGNAL software. Sixteen acoustic variables were measured for each call, extracting both source and filter features. Multidimensional scaling analysis indicates that there are no acoustically distinct rumble subtypes, but that there is quantitative variation across rumbles. Discriminant function analysis showed that the acoustic characteristics of rumbles differ across females. A classification success rate of 65% was achieved when assigning unselected rumbles to one of the six females (test set =64 calls) according to the functions derived from the originally selected calls (training set =205 calls). The rumble is best viewed as a single call type with graded variation, but information regarding individual identity is encoded in female rumbles.

  2. Bee threat elicits alarm call in African elephants.

    PubMed

    King, Lucy E; Soltis, Joseph; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Savage, Anne; Vollrath, Fritz

    2010-04-26

    Unlike the smaller and more vulnerable mammals, African elephants have relatively few predators that threaten their survival. The sound of disturbed African honeybees Apis meliffera scutellata causes African elephants Loxodonta africana to retreat and produce warning vocalizations that lead other elephants to join the flight. In our first experiment, audio playbacks of bee sounds induced elephants to retreat and elicited more head-shaking and dusting, reactive behaviors that may prevent bee stings, compared to white noise control playbacks. Most importantly, elephants produced distinctive "rumble" vocalizations in response to bee sounds. These rumbles exhibited an upward shift in the second formant location, which implies active vocal tract modulation, compared to rumbles made in response to white noise playbacks. In a second experiment, audio playbacks of these rumbles produced in response to bees elicited increased headshaking, and further and faster retreat behavior in other elephants, compared to control rumble playbacks with lower second formant frequencies. These responses to the bee rumble stimuli occurred in the absence of any bees or bee sounds. This suggests that these elephant rumbles may function as referential signals, in which a formant frequency shift alerts nearby elephants about an external threat, in this case, the threat of bees.

  3. Observation of a Rayleigh Wave Induced by Infrasonic Elephant Vocalizations: a Possible Communication Mode?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gunther, R.; O'Connell-Rodwell, C. E.; Klemperer, S.; Rodwell, T. C.; Haines, S.; Goldman, M.; Evans, J. R.

    2003-12-01

    A variety of animals such as arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, fish and rodents communicate by creating and sensing ground vibrations rather than, or in addition to, sound waves. There is evidence that this may be the case for elephants as well. We set out to characterize the Rayleigh wave generated by near-source coupling during elephant low frequency rumble vocalizations (25 Hz lasting 3-7 seconds), using standard engineering-scale seismology equipment. We used a 60-channel GeometricsT seismograph to record data from vertical and horizontal geophones and from microphones, placed along a 168-m cable near Salinas, CA. Seismic wave-speed for body waves (1400 m/s) and surface waves (440 m/s) and the air-wave velocity (340 m/s) were established using a sledgehammer source. Trained elephants vocalized on command at one end of our seismic recording spread. The vocalization was strongest at 25 to 28 Hz (with strong higher harmonics), with a duration of 3 to 4 seconds, and repeated multiple times with separations of 2 to 5 seconds. Unlike an explosive seismic source, the duration of the elephant vocalization is tens of times longer than the characteristic period of the source, lasting far longer than the total propagation time along our seismic recording spread (less than 500 ms), so that different propagating modes cannot be separated by different arrival times. Unlike a VibroseisTM sweep, the elephant rumble is relatively monotonic with no characteristic onset, ruling out the use of deconvolution techniques to recognize the signals. Using a semblance technique applied to linear moveouts on narrow-bandpass-filtered data, coupled with forward modeling, we demonstrate that the complex waves observed are the interference of an air wave and a Rayleigh wave traveling at the appropriate velocities. The Rayleigh wave appears to be generated at or close to the elephant, either by coupling through the elephant's body or through the air near the body to the ground. In our

  4. Information content and acoustic structure of male African elephant social rumbles

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S.; Baotic, Anton

    2016-01-01

    Until recently, the prevailing theory about male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) was that, once adult and sexually mature, males are solitary and targeted only at finding estrous females. While this is true during the state of ‘musth’ (a condition characterized by aggressive behavior and elevated androgen levels), ‘non-musth’ males exhibit a social system seemingly based on companionship, dominance and established hierarchies. Research on elephant vocal communication has so far focused on females, and very little is known about the acoustic structure and the information content of male vocalizations. Using the source and filter theory approach, we analyzed social rumbles of 10 male African elephants. Our results reveal that male rumbles encode information about individuality and maturity (age and size), with formant frequencies and absolute fundamental frequency values having the most informative power. This first comprehensive study on male elephant vocalizations gives important indications on their potential functional relevance for male-male and male-female communication. Our results suggest that, similar to the highly social females, future research on male elephant vocal behavior will reveal a complex communication system in which social knowledge, companionship, hierarchy, reproductive competition and the need to communicate over long distances play key roles. PMID:27273586

  5. Source levels of northern elephant seal vocalizations in-air

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Insley, Stephen J.; Southall, Brandon L.

    2005-09-01

    Accurate measurements of vocalization sound-pressure levels are necessary to determine the acoustical active space of animals in natural and human-altered ambient noise conditions. Despite this basic need, such data are limited or nonexistent for most species. Our study characterized aerial ambient noise and vocalization source levels for northern elephant seals during the breeding season. Subjects were adult males, lactating females, and dependent offspring (pups) at An~o Nuevo State Reserve. Source level measurements were made using a Type 1 sound level meter and calibrated microphones on-axis: (1) at 1 m; (2) at several known distances (laser measured); and (3) simultaneously at 1 m and a second known distance. Concurrent ambient noise conditions were measured in situ (non-weighted 5 min Leq integrated averages) and recorded for later spectral analysis. Measurements were made at two sites, one relatively noisy and the other relatively quiet, to determine whether animals compensate for higher noise conditions by increasing source levels (Lombard effect). Results indicate a wide range in signal strength, particularly for adult males whose vocalization source levels appear to be correlated with dominance rank and related to ambient noise conditions. The Lombard effect was not observed for adult females or elephant seal pups.

  6. African Elephant Alarm Calls Distinguish between Threats from Humans and Bees

    PubMed Central

    Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Vollrath, Fritz; Savage, Anne

    2014-01-01

    The Samburu pastoralists of Northern Kenya co-exist with African elephants, Loxodonta africana, and compete over resources such as watering holes. Audio playback experiments demonstrate that African elephants produce alarm calls in response to the voices of Samburu tribesmen. When exposed to adult male Samburu voices, listening elephants exhibited vigilance behavior, flight behavior, and produced vocalizations (rumbles, roars and trumpets). Rumble vocalizations were most common and were characterized by increased and more variable fundamental frequencies, and an upward shift in the first [F1] and second [F2] formant locations, compared to control rumbles. When exposed to a sequence of these recorded rumbles, roars and trumpets, listening elephants also exhibited vigilance and flight behavior. The same behavior was observed, in lesser degrees, both when the roars and trumpets were removed, and when the second formants were artificially lowered to levels typical of control rumbles. The “Samburu alarm rumble” is acoustically distinct from the previously described “bee alarm rumble.” The bee alarm rumbles exhibited increased F2, while Samburu alarm rumbles exhibited increased F1 and F2, compared to controls. Moreover, the behavioral reactions to the two threats were different. Elephants exhibited vigilance and flight behavior in response to Samburu and bee stimuli and to both alarm calls, but headshaking behavior only occurred in response to bee sounds and bee alarm calls. In general, increasingly threatening stimuli elicited alarm calls with increases in F0 and in formant locations, and increasing numbers of these acoustic cues in vocal stimuli elicited increased vigilance and flight behavior in listening elephants. These results show that African elephant alarm calls differentiate between two types of threat and reflect the level of urgency of threats. PMID:24586753

  7. Neuronal morphology in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) neocortex.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Bob; Lubs, Jessica; Hannan, Markus; Anderson, Kaeley; Butti, Camilla; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Manger, Paul R

    2011-01-01

    Virtually nothing is known about the morphology of cortical neurons in the elephant. To this end, the current study provides the first documentation of neuronal morphology in frontal and occipital regions of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Cortical tissue from the perfusion-fixed brains of two free-ranging African elephants was stained with a modified Golgi technique. Neurons of different types (N=75), with a focus on superficial (i.e., layers II-III) pyramidal neurons, were quantified on a computer-assisted microscopy system using Neurolucida software. Qualitatively, elephant neocortex exhibited large, complex spiny neurons, many of which differed in morphology/orientation from typical primate and rodent pyramidal neurons. Elephant cortex exhibited a V-shaped arrangement of bifurcating apical dendritic bundles. Quantitatively, the dendrites of superficial pyramidal neurons in elephant frontal cortex were more complex than in occipital cortex. In comparison to human supragranular pyramidal neurons, elephant superficial pyramidal neurons exhibited similar overall basilar dendritic length, but the dendritic segments tended to be longer in the elephant with less intricate branching. Finally, elephant aspiny interneurons appeared to be morphologically consistent with other eutherian mammals. The current results thus elaborate on the evolutionary roots of Afrotherian brain organization and highlight unique aspects of neural architecture in elephants.

  8. Triangulating the provenance of African elephants using mitochondrial DNA

    PubMed Central

    Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Hondo, Tomoko; Roca, Alfred L

    2013-01-01

    African elephant mitochondrial (mt) DNA follows a distinctive evolutionary trajectory. As females do not migrate between elephant herds, mtDNA exhibits low geographic dispersal. We therefore examined the effectiveness of mtDNA for assigning the provenance of African elephants (or their ivory). For 653 savanna and forest elephants from 22 localities in 13 countries, 4258 bp of mtDNA was sequenced. We detected eight mtDNA subclades, of which seven had regionally restricted distributions. Among 108 unique haplotypes identified, 72% were found at only one locality and 84% were country specific, while 44% of individuals carried a haplotype detected only at their sampling locality. We combined 316 bp of our control region sequences with those generated by previous trans-national surveys of African elephants. Among 101 unique control region haplotypes detected in African elephants across 81 locations in 22 countries, 62% were present in only a single country. Applying our mtDNA results to a previous microsatellite-based assignment study would improve estimates of the provenance of elephants in 115 of 122 mis-assigned cases. Nuclear partitioning followed species boundaries and not mtDNA subclade boundaries. For taxa such as elephants in which nuclear and mtDNA markers differ in phylogeography, combining the two markers can triangulate the origins of confiscated wildlife products. PMID:23798975

  9. Eradication of elephant ear mites (Loxoanoetus bassoni) in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Wyatt, Jeff; DiVincenti, Louis

    2012-03-01

    Elephant ear mites, not previously described in North America, were eradicated in two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) after six otic instillations of ivermectin at 2-wk intervals. The microscopic examination of a clear, mucoid discharge collected from the external ear canals of two wild-born African elephants housed in a New York State zoo for 25 yr revealed live mites (Loxoaneotus bassoni). The cytologic examination demonstrated no evidence of inflammation or infection. Both elephants were asymptomatic with normal hemograms and serum chemistry panels. A diagnosis of otoacariasis was made. Each elephant was treated six times with 5 ml of 1% ivermectin syrup instilled in each ear canal once every 2 wk. Microscopic examinations of clear mucus collected from each elephant's ear canals 9 days after the first instillation of ivermectin were negative for any life stages of ear mites. Microscopic examinations of mucus collected from both elephants' ear canals at 6, 11, and 16 wk, as well as annually post-treatment for 7 yr, confirmed eradication of the ear mites. The L. bassoni ear mite was first identified in the external ear canals of wild, asymptomatic, lesion-free, African elephants culled in Kruger National Park in South Africa. However, a new species in the same genus of mites (Loxoanoetus lenae) was identified at the necropsy of an 86-yr-old Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) living in a circus in Australia. The autopsy revealed a marked, ballooning distension of bone around the left external acoustic meatus, suggestive of mite-induced otitis externa, as seen in cattle infested with ear mites (Raillieta auris). Elephant health care providers should identify the prevalence of, and consider treatment of, elephants in their care infested with ear mites, given the possible risk for adverse health effects.

  10. Measuring positive and negative affect in the voiced sounds of African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Soltis, Joseph; Blowers, Tracy E; Savage, Anne

    2011-02-01

    As in other mammals, there is evidence that the African elephant voice reflects affect intensity, but it is less clear if positive and negative affective states are differentially reflected in the voice. An acoustic comparison was made between African elephant "rumble" vocalizations produced in negative social contexts (dominance interactions), neutral social contexts (minimal social activity), and positive social contexts (affiliative interactions) by four adult females housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom®. Rumbles produced in the negative social context exhibited higher and more variable fundamental frequencies (F(0)) and amplitudes, longer durations, increased voice roughness, and higher first formant locations (F1), compared to the neutral social context. Rumbles produced in the positive social context exhibited similar shifts in most variables (F(0 )variation, amplitude, amplitude variation, duration, and F1), but the magnitude of response was generally less than that observed in the negative context. Voice roughness and F(0) observed in the positive social context remained similar to that observed in the neutral context. These results are most consistent with the vocal expression of affect intensity, in which the negative social context elicited higher intensity levels than the positive context, but differential vocal expression of positive and negative affect cannot be ruled out.

  11. How low can you go? Physical production mechanism of elephant infrasonic vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Herbst, Christian T; Stoeger, Angela S; Frey, Roland; Lohscheller, Jörg; Titze, Ingo R; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Fitch, W Tecumseh

    2012-08-03

    Elephants can communicate using sounds below the range of human hearing ("infrasounds" below 20 hertz). It is commonly speculated that these vocalizations are produced in the larynx, either by neurally controlled muscle twitching (as in cat purring) or by flow-induced self-sustained vibrations of the vocal folds (as in human speech and song). We used direct high-speed video observations of an excised elephant larynx to demonstrate flow-induced self-sustained vocal fold vibration in the absence of any neural signals, thus excluding the need for any "purring" mechanism. The observed physical principles of voice production apply to a wide variety of mammals, extending across a remarkably large range of fundamental frequencies and body sizes, spanning more than five orders of magnitude.

  12. Will Elephants Soon Disappear from West African Savannahs?

    PubMed Central

    Bouché, Philippe; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George; Nianogo, Aimé J.; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Lejeune, Philippe; Vermeulen, Cédric

    2011-01-01

    Precipitous declines in Africa's native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km2 Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals. Historically, most populations numbering less than 200 individuals in the region were extirpated within a few decades. Declines differed by region, with Central African populations experiencing much higher declines (−76%) than those in West Africa (−33%). As a result, elephants in West Africa now account for 86% of the total surveyed. Range wide, two refuge zones retain elephants, one in West and the other in Central Africa. These zones are separated by a large distance (∼900 km) of high density human land use, suggesting connectivity between the regions is permanently cut. Within each zone, however, sporadic contacts between populations remain. Retaining such connectivity should be a high priority for conservation of elephants in this region. Specific corridors designed to reduce the isolation of the surveyed populations are proposed. The strong commitment of governments, effective law enforcement to control the illegal ivory trade and the involvement of local communities and private partners are all critical to securing the future of elephants inhabiting Africa's northern savannas. PMID:21731620

  13. Will elephants soon disappear from West African savannahs?

    PubMed

    Bouché, Philippe; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Wittemyer, George; Nianogo, Aimé J; Doucet, Jean-Louis; Lejeune, Philippe; Vermeulen, Cédric

    2011-01-01

    Precipitous declines in Africa's native fauna and flora are recognized, but few comprehensive records of these changes have been compiled. Here, we present population trends for African elephants in the 6,213,000 km² Sudano-Sahelian range of West and Central Africa assessed through the analysis of aerial and ground surveys conducted over the past 4 decades. These surveys are focused on the best protected areas in the region, and therefore represent the best case scenario for the northern savanna elephants. A minimum of 7,745 elephants currently inhabit the entire region, representing a minimum decline of 50% from estimates four decades ago for these protected areas. Most of the historic range is now devoid of elephants and, therefore, was not surveyed. Of the 23 surveyed elephant populations, half are estimated to number less than 200 individuals. Historically, most populations numbering less than 200 individuals in the region were extirpated within a few decades. Declines differed by region, with Central African populations experiencing much higher declines (-76%) than those in West Africa (-33%). As a result, elephants in West Africa now account for 86% of the total surveyed. Range wide, two refuge zones retain elephants, one in West and the other in Central Africa. These zones are separated by a large distance (∼900 km) of high density human land use, suggesting connectivity between the regions is permanently cut. Within each zone, however, sporadic contacts between populations remain. Retaining such connectivity should be a high priority for conservation of elephants in this region. Specific corridors designed to reduce the isolation of the surveyed populations are proposed. The strong commitment of governments, effective law enforcement to control the illegal ivory trade and the involvement of local communities and private partners are all critical to securing the future of elephants inhabiting Africa's northern savannas.

  14. Volumetric analysis of the African elephant ventricular system.

    PubMed

    Maskeo, Busisiwe C; Spocter, Muhammed A; Haagensen, Mark; Manger, Paul R

    2011-08-01

    This study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the volume of the ventricular system in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana). The ventricular system of the elephant has a volume of ∼240 mL, an order of magnitude larger than that seen in the adult human. Despite this large size, allometric analysis indicates that the volume of the ventricles in the elephant is what one would expect for a mammal with an ∼5 kg brain. Interestingly, our comparison with other mammals revealed that primates appear to have small relative ventricular volumes, and that megachiropterans and microchiropterans follow different scaling rules when comparing ventricular volume to brain mass indicating separate phylogenetic histories. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution.

  15. Geographic variation of stable isotopes in African elephant ivory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziegler, S.; Merker, S.; Jacob, D.

    2012-04-01

    In 1989, the international community listed the African elephant in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) thus prohibiting commercial ivory trade. Recent surveillance data show that the illegal trade in ivory has been growing worldwide. Long-term preservation of many of the African elephant populations can be supported with a control mechanism that helps with the implementation of remedial conservation action. Therefore, setting up a reference database that predicts the origin of ivory specimens can assist in determining smuggling routes and the provenance of illegal ivory. Our research builds on earlier work to seek an appropriate method for determining the area of origin for individual tusks. Several researchers have shown that the provenance of elephant ivory can be traced by its isotopic composition, but this is the first attempt to produce an integrated isotopic reference database of elephant ivory provenance. We applied a combination of various routine geochemical analyses to measure the stable isotope ratios of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. Up to now, we analysed 606 ivory samples of known geographical origin from African range states, museums and private collections, comprising 22 African elephant range states. The isotopic measurements were superimposed with data layers from vegetation, geology and climate. A regression function for the isotope composition of the water isotopes in precipitation and collagen in ivory was developed to overcome the problem of imprecise origin of some of the sampled material. Multivariate statistics, such as nearest neighborhood and discriminate analysis were applied to eventually allow a statistical determination of the provenance for ivory of unknown origin. Our results suggest that the combination of isotopic parameters have the potential to provide predictable and complementary markers for estimating the origin of seized elephant ivory.

  16. Interpretation of human pointing by African elephants: generalisation and rationality.

    PubMed

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-11-01

    Factors influencing the abilities of different animals to use cooperative social cues from humans are still unclear, in spite of long-standing interest in the topic. One of the few species that have been found successful at using human pointing is the African elephant (Loxodonta africana); despite few opportunities for learning about pointing, elephants follow a pointing gesture in an object-choice task, even when the pointing signal and experimenter's body position are in conflict, and when the gesture itself is visually subtle. Here, we show that the success of captive African elephants at using human pointing is not restricted to situations where the pointing signal is sustained until the time of choice: elephants followed human pointing even when the pointing gesture was withdrawn before they had responded to it. Furthermore, elephants rapidly generalised their response to a type of social cue they were unlikely to have seen before: pointing with the foot. However, unlike young children, they showed no sign of evaluating the 'rationality' of this novel pointing gesture according to its visual context: that is, whether the experimenter's hands were occupied or not.

  17. Freezing African Elephant Semen as a New Population Management Tool

    PubMed Central

    Hermes, Robert; Saragusty, Joseph; Göritz, Frank; Bartels, Paul; Potier, Romain; Baker, Barbara; Streich, W. Jürgen; Hildebrandt, Thomas B.

    2013-01-01

    Background The captive elephant population is not self-sustaining and with a limited number of breeding bulls, its genetic diversity is in decline. One way to overcome this is to import young and healthy animals from the wild. We introduce here a more sustainable alternative method - importation of semen from wild bulls without removing them from their natural habitat. Due to the logistics involved, the only practical option would be to transport cryopreserved sperm. Despite some early reports on African elephant semen cryopreservation, the utility of this new population management tool has not been evaluated. Methodology/Principal Findings Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 14 wild African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) bulls and cryopreserved using the directional freezing technique. Sperm treatments evaluated included the need for centrifugation, the use of hen or quail yolk, the concentration of glycerol (3%, 5% or 7%) in the extender, and maintenance of motility over time after thawing. Our results suggest that dilution in an extender containing hen yolk and 7% glycerol after centrifugation best preserved post-thaw sperm motility when compared to all other treatments (P≤0.012 for all). Using this approach we were able to achieve after thawing (mean ± SD) 54.6±3.9% motility, 85.3±2.4% acrosome integrity, and 86.8±4.6% normal morphology with no decrease in motility over 1 h incubation at 37°C. Sperm cryopreserved during this study has already lead to a pregnancy of a captive female elephant following artificial insemination. Conclusions/Significance With working techniques for artificial insemination and sperm cryopreservation of both African and Asian elephants in hand, population managers can now enrich captive or isolated wild elephant populations without removing valuable individuals from their natural habitat. PMID:23483917

  18. Chronology of the extant African elephant species and case study of the species identification of the small African elephant with the molecular phylogenetic method.

    PubMed

    Murata, Yumie; Yonezawa, Takahiro; Kihara, Ichiro; Kashiwamura, Toshihide; Sugihara, Yuji; Nikaido, Masato; Okada, Norihiro; Endo, Hideki; Hasegawa, Masami

    2009-07-15

    Despite vigorous genetic studies of African elephants (Loxodonta africana and L. cyclotis) during the last decade, their evolutionary history is still obscure. Phylogenetic studies and coalescence time estimation using longer nucleotide sequence data from denser samplings are necessary to better understand the natural history of African elephants. Further, species identification among African elephants is sometimes very difficult using only the external morphological characteristics. This is a serious problem for making an adequate breeding plan in zoological gardens. In this paper, we investigated the continent-wide phylogeographical pattern of the African elephants and estimated the coalescence times among them. From these molecular data and geological evidence, we proposed an evolutionary scenario for the African elephants. We further demonstrated the effectiveness of molecular phylogenetic methods in species identification.

  19. Foot pressure distributions during walking in African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Pataky, Todd C.; Day, Madeleine; Hensman, Michael C.; Hensman, Sean; Hutchinson, John R.; Clemente, Christofer J.

    2016-01-01

    Elephants, the largest living land mammals, have evolved a specialized foot morphology to help reduce locomotor pressures while supporting their large body mass. Peak pressures that could cause tissue damage are mitigated passively by the anatomy of elephants' feet, yet this mechanism does not seem to work well for some captive animals. This study tests how foot pressures vary among African and Asian elephants from habitats where natural substrates predominate but where foot care protocols differ. Variations in pressure patterns might be related to differences in husbandry, including but not limited to trimming and the substrates that elephants typically stand and move on. Both species' samples exhibited the highest concentration of peak pressures on the lateral digits of their feet (which tend to develop more disease in elephants) and lower pressures around the heel. The trajectories of the foot's centre of pressure were also similar, confirming that when walking at similar speeds, both species load their feet laterally at impact and then shift their weight medially throughout the step until toe-off. Overall, we found evidence of variations in foot pressure patterns that might be attributable to husbandry and other causes, deserving further examination using broader, more comparable samples. PMID:27853539

  20. Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George; Northrup, Joseph M; Blanc, Julian; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Omondi, Patrick; Burnham, Kenneth P

    2014-09-09

    Illegal wildlife trade has reached alarming levels globally, extirpating populations of commercially valuable species. As a driver of biodiversity loss, quantifying illegal harvest is essential for conservation and sociopolitical affairs but notoriously difficult. Here we combine field-based carcass monitoring with fine-scale demographic data from an intensively studied wild African elephant population in Samburu, Kenya, to partition mortality into natural and illegal causes. We then expand our analytical framework to model illegal killing rates and population trends of elephants at regional and continental scales using carcass data collected by a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species program. At the intensively monitored site, illegal killing increased markedly after 2008 and was correlated strongly with the local black market ivory price and increased seizures of ivory destined for China. More broadly, results from application to continental data indicated illegal killing levels were unsustainable for the species between 2010 and 2012, peaking to ∼ 8% in 2011 which extrapolates to ∼ 40,000 elephants illegally killed and a probable species reduction of ∼ 3% that year. Preliminary data from 2013 indicate overharvesting continued. In contrast to the rest of Africa, our analysis corroborates that Central African forest elephants experienced decline throughout the last decade. These results provide the most comprehensive assessment of illegal ivory harvest to date and confirm that current ivory consumption is not sustainable. Further, our approach provides a powerful basis to determine cryptic mortality and gain understanding of the demography of at-risk species.

  1. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants.

    PubMed

    Chase, Michael J; Schlossberg, Scott; Griffin, Curtice R; Bouché, Philippe J C; Djene, Sintayehu W; Elkan, Paul W; Ferreira, Sam; Grossman, Falk; Kohi, Edward Mtarima; Landen, Kelly; Omondi, Patrick; Peltier, Alexis; Selier, S A Jeanetta; Sutcliffe, Robert

    2016-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants' downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat.

  2. Reconciling apparent conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yasuko; Oleksyk, Taras K; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; David, Victor A; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest "F" and savanna "S" mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure, and

  3. Reconciling Apparent Conflicts between Mitochondrial and Nuclear Phylogenies in African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Georgiadis, Nicholas J.; David, Victor A.; Zhao, Kai; Stephens, Robert M.; Kolokotronis, Sergios-Orestis; Roca, Alfred L.

    2011-01-01

    Conservation strategies for African elephants would be advanced by resolution of conflicting claims that they comprise one, two, three or four taxonomic groups, and by development of genetic markers that establish more incisively the provenance of confiscated ivory. We addressed these related issues by genotyping 555 elephants from across Africa with microsatellite markers, developing a method to identify those loci most effective at geographic assignment of elephants (or their ivory), and conducting novel analyses of continent-wide datasets of mitochondrial DNA. Results showed that nuclear genetic diversity was partitioned into two clusters, corresponding to African forest elephants (99.5% Cluster-1) and African savanna elephants (99.4% Cluster-2). Hybrid individuals were rare. In a comparison of basal forest “F” and savanna “S” mtDNA clade distributions to nuclear DNA partitions, forest elephant nuclear genotypes occurred only in populations in which S clade mtDNA was absent, suggesting that nuclear partitioning corresponds to the presence or absence of S clade mtDNA. We reanalyzed African elephant mtDNA sequences from 81 locales spanning the continent and discovered that S clade mtDNA was completely absent among elephants at all 30 sampled tropical forest locales. The distribution of savanna nuclear DNA and S clade mtDNA corresponded closely to range boundaries traditionally ascribed to the savanna elephant species based on habitat and morphology. Further, a reanalysis of nuclear genetic assignment results suggested that West African elephants do not comprise a distinct third species. Finally, we show that some DNA markers will be more useful than others for determining the geographic origins of illegal ivory. These findings resolve the apparent incongruence between mtDNA and nuclear genetic patterns that has confounded the taxonomy of African elephants, affirm the limitations of using mtDNA patterns to infer elephant systematics or population structure

  4. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants

    PubMed Central

    Schlossberg, Scott; Griffin, Curtice R.; Bouché, Philippe J.C.; Djene, Sintayehu W.; Elkan, Paul W.; Ferreira, Sam; Grossman, Falk; Kohi, Edward Mtarima; Landen, Kelly; Omondi, Patrick; Peltier, Alexis; Selier, S.A. Jeanetta; Sutcliffe, Robert

    2016-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are imperiled by poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown over much of Africa. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations. Here, we report the results of the Great Elephant Census (GEC), the first continent-wide, standardized survey of African savannah elephants. We also provide the first quantitative model of elephant population trends across Africa. We estimated a population of 352,271 savannah elephants on study sites in 18 countries, representing approximately 93% of all savannah elephants in those countries. Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching. Though 84% of elephants occurred in protected areas, many protected areas had carcass ratios that indicated high levels of elephant mortality. Results of the GEC show the necessity of action to end the African elephants’ downward trajectory by preventing poaching and protecting habitat. PMID:27635327

  5. Ivory Harvesting Pressure on the Genome of the African Elephant: A Phenotypic Shift to Tusklessness.

    PubMed

    Raubenheimer, Erich J; Miniggio, Hilde D

    2016-09-01

    The unique chequered pattern of elephant ivory has made it a desired commodity for the production of various works of art. The demand however outstrips the supply and with soaring prices, illegal tusk harvesting is thriving on the African continent. Formal restrictions placed on trade in elephant products have been ineffective in reversing the rapid decline in elephant numbers. We are presently facing the reality of extinction of free roaming elephant on the African continent. This paper describes the histogenesis of the chequered pattern, the genomic impact of ivory harvesting on the phenotype of breeding herds, and the contribution of science to tracing the origin of illegal ivory.

  6. Systematic review on the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Background In this paper we review the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants, aiming to understand the spatio-temporal research trends and their underlying factors. As such, we explore three questions associated to the conservation genetics and molecular ecology of these elephants: (1) what are the research trends concerning the conservation genetics of Loxodonta africana? (2) Do richer countries conduct more research on the genetics of African elephants? (3) Which attributes influence where scholars conduct their research? Materials and Methods We examined available peer-reviewed publications from 1993 to 2014 in complementary online databases, including the ISI/Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar (GS), and searched for publications in scientific journals as well as in the reference section of these publications. We analyzed the annual trend of publications in this field of research, including the number of authors, levels of collaboration among authors, year of publication, publishing journal and the countries from where genetic samples were collected. Additionally, we identified main research clusters, authors, and institutional collaborations, based on co-citation and co-occurrence networks. Results We found that during the study period there was a positive trend in the number of publications and a reduction in the number of authors per paper. Twenty-five countries contributed, with the majority of publications authored by researchers in the USA, Kenya and South Africa. The majority of samples were collected in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Research outputs are associated with the existence of long-term conservation/research projects and research potential as measured by the literacy rate and the number of higher education institutions in a country. Five research clusters were identified, focusing on the origin and evolution of the species, methodological issues and the relatedness among elephant species. Conclusions Research in

  7. The fluidity of blood in African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Windberger, U; Plasenzotti, R; Voracek, Th

    2005-01-01

    The large cellular volume of erythrocytes and the increased plasma concentration of proteins in elephants are factors which potentially affect blood rheology adversely. To verify blood rheology, routine hemorheologic variables were analyzed in four African elephants (Loxodonta africana), housed in the zoo of Vienna. Whole blood viscosity at three different shear rates (WBV at low shear rate: WBV 0.7 s(-1) and WBV 2.4 s(-1); WBV at high shear rate: WBV 94 s(-1) done by LS30, Contraves) and erythrocyte aggregation (aggregation indices AI by LS30; aggregation indices M0, M1 by Myrenne aggregometer) were high (WBV 94 s(-1): 5.368 (5.246/5.648); WBV 2.4 s(-1): 16.291 (15.605/17.629); WBV 0.7 s(-1): 28.28 (25.537/32.173) mPa s; AI 2.4 s(-1): 0.25 (0.23/0.30); AI 0.7 s(-1): 0.24 (0.23/0.28); M0: 7.8 (6.4/8.4); M1: 30.2 (25/31)). Plasma viscosity (PV) was increased as well (1.865 (1.857/1.912) mPa s) compared to other mammalian species. These parameters would indicate a decrease in blood fluidity in elephants. However, erythrocyte rigidity (LORCA, Mechatronics) was decreased, which in contrast, has a promotive effect on peripheral perfusion. Blood rheology of the elephants was determined by a high whole blood and plasma viscosity as the result of pronounced erythrocyte aggregation and high plasma protein concentration. Thus, in the terminal vessels the resistance to flow will be increased. The large erythrocytes, which might impede blood flow further due to geometrical reasons, however, had a pronounced flexibility. We conclude that the effect of the increased inner resistance to peripheral blood flow was counteracted by the decreased rigidity of the erythrocytes to enable an adequate blood flow in African elephants.

  8. Cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation and the African elephant species question.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; Georgiadis, Nicholas; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2007-07-01

    Studies of skull morphology and of nuclear DNA have strongly concluded that African elephants comprise two species. Nonetheless, Debruyne (2005) has suggested a single-species model for Loxodonta based on the polyphyly of a single genetic locus, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Discordant patterns between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers were subsequently reported in some African savanna elephant populations, further supporting a two-species model, and prompting us to re-examine here the geographic distribution of different elephant morphotypes and their relationship to nuclear and mtDNA phylogeographic patterns. We used exact tests to compare the distribution of forest elephant-typical and savanna elephant-typical characteristics across eight published datasets containing morphological, mtDNA or nuclear DNA data for African elephants. Among the elephants examined by Debruyne (2005), we found that patterns of forest vs. savanna characteristics were significantly different (p < 10(-5)) between mtDNA and morphology, suggesting the presence of cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation. We show that the eight African elephant continent-wide datasets compared, including that of Debruyne (2005), together support a two-species model with cyto-nuclear genomic dissociation rather than a one-species model, and together indicate that Africa harbors two species of elephant.

  9. Effects of economic downturns on mortality of wild African elephants.

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George

    2011-10-01

    Declines in economic activity and associated changes in human livelihood strategies can increase threats of species overexploitation. This is exemplified by the effects of economic crises, which often drive intensification of subsistence poaching and greater reliance on natural resources. Whereas development theory links natural resource use to social-economic conditions, few empirical studies of the effect of economic downturns on wild animal species have been conducted. I assessed the relations between African elephant (Loxodonta africana) mortality and human-caused wounds in Samburu, Kenya and (1) livestock and maize prices (measures of local economic conditions), (2) change in national and regional gross domestic product (GDP) (measures of macroeconomic conditions), and (3) the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (a correlate of primary productivity). In addition, I analyzed household survey data to determine the attitudes of local people toward protected areas and wild animals in the area. When cattle prices in the pastoralist study region were low, human-caused wounds to and adult mortality of elephants increased. The NDVI was negatively correlated with juvenile mortality, but not correlated with adult mortality. Changes in Kenyan and East Asian (primary market for ivory) GDP did not explain significant variation in mortality. Increased human wounding of elephants and elephant mortality during periods of low livestock prices (local economic downturns) likely reflect an economically driven increase in ivory poaching. Local but not macroeconomic indices explained significant variation in mortality, likely due to the dominance of the subsistence economy in the study area and its political and economic isolation. My results suggest economic metrics can serve as effective indicators of changes in human use of and resulting effects on natural resources. Such information can help focus management approaches (e.g., antipoaching effort or proffering of

  10. Personality assessment and its association with genetic factors in captive Asian and African elephants.

    PubMed

    Yasui, Saki; Konno, Akitsugu; Tanaka, Masayuki; Idani, Gen'ichi; Ludwig, Arne; Lieckfeldt, Dietmar; Inoue-Murayama, Miho

    2013-01-01

    Elephants live in a complex society based on matrilineal groups. Management of captive elephants is difficult, partly because each elephant has a unique personality. For a better understanding of elephant well being in captivity, it would be helpful to systematically evaluate elephants' personalities and their underlying biological basis. We sent elephant' personality questionnaires to keepers of 75 elephants. We also used 196 elephant DNA samples to search for genetic polymorphisms in genes expressed in the brain that have been suggested to be related to personality traits. Three genes, androgen receptor (AR), fragile X related mental retardation protein interacting protein (NUFIP2), and acheate-scute homologs 1 (ASH1) contained polymorphic regions. We examined the association of personality with intraspecific genetic variation in 17 Asian and 28 African elephants. The results suggest that the ASH1 genotype was associated with neuroticism in Asian elephants. Subjects with short alleles had lower scores of neuroticism than those with long alleles. This is the first report of an association between a genetic polymorphism and personality in elephants.

  11. [Contribution of molecular phylogeny and morphometrics to the systematics of African elephants].

    PubMed

    Debruyne, Régis

    2004-01-01

    African elephants are conventionally classified as a single species: Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach 1797). However, the discovery in 1900 of a smaller form of the African elephant, spread throughout the equatorial belt of this land, has given rise to a debate over the relevance of a second species of elephant in Africa. The twentieth century has not provided any definite answer to this question. Actually, recent molecular analyses have sustained this issue by advocating either a division of forest elephants into a valid species, or their inclusion as a subspecies of L. africana. Our work initiated at the National Museum of Natural History of Paris provides new molecular (mitochondrial) and morphological (and morphometrical) evidence making it possible to propose a comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis. It appears that there is no conclusive argument to keep forest elephants (cyclotis form) and savannah elephants (africana form) apart in two distinct species. A high level of mitochondrial introgression between the two forms, as well as a continuum in the morphology of the skulls of the two morphotypes rather suggests that, despite an ancient division, these two taxa freely interbreed wherever their ranges intersect. We thus adopt a conservative systematic position in considering these two forms as two subspecies, respectively: L. africana africana, the savannah elephant, and L. africana cyclotis, the forest elephant. We finally discuss the conservation topic in the light of this systematic framework.

  12. First reported case of fatal tuberculosis in a wild African elephant with past human-wildlife contact.

    PubMed

    Obanda, V; Poghon, J; Yongo, M; Mulei, I; Ngotho, M; Waititu, K; Makumi, J; Gakuya, F; Omondi, P; Soriguer, R C; Alasaad, S

    2013-07-01

    Tuberculosis is emerging/re-emerging in captive elephant populations, where it causes morbidity and deaths, although no case of TB in wild African elephants has been reported. In this paper we report the first case of fatal TB in an African elephant in the wild. The infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis was confirmed by post-mortem and histological examinations of a female sub-adult elephant aged >12 years that died in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, while under treatment. This case is unique in that during its lifetime the elephant had contact with both humans and wild elephants. The source of the infection was unclear because the elephant could have acquired the infection in the orphanage or in the wild. However, our results show that wild elephants can maintain human TB in the wild and that the infection can be fatal.

  13. Ticks of four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs.

    PubMed

    Horak, Ivan G; Welman, Shaun; Hallam, Stacey L; Lutermann, Heike; Mzilikazi, Nomakwezi

    2011-03-17

    Several studies on ticks infesting small mammals, including elephant shrews, have been conducted in South Africa; however, these studies have included only a single four-toed elephant shrew and no hedgehogs. This study thus aimed to identify and quantify the ixodid ticks infesting four-toed elephant shrews and Southern African hedgehogs. Four-toed elephant shrews (Petrodromus tetradactylus) were trapped in dense shrub undergrowth in a nature reserve in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. They were separately housed, first in cages and later in glass terraria fitted with wire-mesh bases to allow detached ticks to fall through for collection. Southern African hedgehogs (Atelerix frontalis) were hand caught on a farm in the eastern region of the Northern Cape Province and all visible ticks were collected by means of tweezers while the animals were anaesthetised. The ticks from each animal were preserved separately in 70% ethanol for later identification and counting. The immature stages of five ixodid tick species were collected from the elephant shrews, of which Rhipicephalus muehlensi was the most common. It has not been recorded previously on any species of elephant shrew. Three ixodid tick species were collected from the hedgehogs. Large numbers of adult Haemaphysalis colesbergensis, which has not been encountered previously on hedgehogs, were collected from these animals. Four-toed elephant shrews are good hosts of the larvae and nymphs of R. muehlensi, and Southern African hedgehogs are good hosts of adult H. colesbergensis.

  14. Long-term memory of heterospecific vocalizations by African lions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grinnell, Jon; van Dyk, Gus; Slotow, Rob

    2005-09-01

    Animals that use and evaluate long-distance signals have the potential to glean valuable information about others in their environment via eavesdropping. In those areas where they coexist, African lions (Panthera leo) are a significant eavesdropper on spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), often using hyena vocalizations to locate and scavenge from hyena kills. This relationship was used to test African lions' long-term memory of the vocalizations of spotted hyenas via playback experiments. Hyena whoops and a control sound (Canis lupus howls) were played to three populations of lions in South Africa: (1) lions with past experience of spotted hyenas; (2) lions with current experience; and (3) lions with no experience. The results strongly suggest that lions have the cognitive ability to remember the vocalizations of spotted hyenas even after 10 years with no contact of any kind with them. Such long-term memory of heterospecific vocalizations may be widespread in species that gain fitness benefits from eavesdropping on others, but where such species are sympatric and often interact it may pass unrecognized as short-term memory instead.

  15. Molecular characterization of adipose tissue in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Emeli M; Fainberg, Hernan P; Choong, Siew S; Giles, Thomas C; Sells, James; May, Sean; Stansfield, Fiona J; Allen, William R; Emes, Richard D; Mostyn, Alison; Mongan, Nigel P; Yon, Lisa

    2014-01-01

    Adipose tissue (AT) is a dynamic and flexible organ with regulatory roles in physiological functions including metabolism, reproduction and inflammation; secreted adipokines, including leptin, and fatty acids facilitate many of these roles. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is experiencing serious challenges to optimal reproduction in captivity. The physiological and molecular basis of this impaired fertility remains unknown. AT production of leptin is a crucial molecular link between nutritional status, adiposity and fertility in many species. We propose that leptin has a similar function in the African elephant. African elephant visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) was obtained from both sexes and a range of ages including females with known pregnancy status. RNA was extracted and histological sections created and analyzed by microarray, PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. Gas-chromatography was used to determine the fatty acid composition of AT. Microarray expression profiling was used to compare gene expression profiles of AT from pre-pubertal versus reproductively competent adult African elephants. This study demonstrates, for the first time, leptin mRNA and protein expression in African elephant AT. The derived protein sequence of the elephant leptin protein was exploited to determine its relationship within the class I helical cytokine superfamily, which indicates that elephant leptin is most closely related to the leptin orthologs of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit), Lepus oiostolus (woolly hare), and members of the Ochotonidae (Pika). Immunohistological analysis identified considerable leptin staining within the cytoplasm of adipocytes. Significant differences in fatty acid profiles between pregnant and non-pregnant animals were revealed, most notably a reduction in both linoleic and α linoleic acid in pregnant animals. This report forms the basis for future studies to address the effect of nutrient composition and body

  16. Molecular Characterization of Adipose Tissue in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Choong, Siew S.; Giles, Thomas C.; Sells, James; May, Sean; Stansfield, Fiona J.; Allen, William R.; Emes, Richard D.; Mostyn, Alison; Mongan, Nigel P.; Yon, Lisa

    2014-01-01

    Adipose tissue (AT) is a dynamic and flexible organ with regulatory roles in physiological functions including metabolism, reproduction and inflammation; secreted adipokines, including leptin, and fatty acids facilitate many of these roles. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is experiencing serious challenges to optimal reproduction in captivity. The physiological and molecular basis of this impaired fertility remains unknown. AT production of leptin is a crucial molecular link between nutritional status, adiposity and fertility in many species. We propose that leptin has a similar function in the African elephant. African elephant visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) was obtained from both sexes and a range of ages including females with known pregnancy status. RNA was extracted and histological sections created and analyzed by microarray, PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively. Gas-chromatography was used to determine the fatty acid composition of AT. Microarray expression profiling was used to compare gene expression profiles of AT from pre-pubertal versus reproductively competent adult African elephants. This study demonstrates, for the first time, leptin mRNA and protein expression in African elephant AT. The derived protein sequence of the elephant leptin protein was exploited to determine its relationship within the class I helical cytokine superfamily, which indicates that elephant leptin is most closely related to the leptin orthologs of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit), Lepus oiostolus (woolly hare), and members of the Ochotonidae (Pika). Immunohistological analysis identified considerable leptin staining within the cytoplasm of adipocytes. Significant differences in fatty acid profiles between pregnant and non-pregnant animals were revealed, most notably a reduction in both linoleic and α linoleic acid in pregnant animals. This report forms the basis for future studies to address the effect of nutrient composition and body

  17. Detection of cytonuclear genomic dissociation in the North American captive African elephant collection.

    PubMed

    Lei, Runhua; Brenneman, Rick A; Schmitt, Dennis L; Louis, Edward E

    2009-01-01

    A total of 114 captive elephants (6 Asian; 108 African) from 43 private institutions or North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were sampled and evaluated to investigate genetic status. Because previous analyses of the captive collection indicated potential cytonuclear dissociation between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and microsatellite nuclear DNA genotype data, we investigated this phenomenon within the captive collection with 2 X-linked genes (BGN and PHKA2) and 1 Y-linked gene (AMELY). These data reveal that individuals with forest-derived elephant mtDNA lineages carried only savannah elephant nuclear gene haplotypes. These results are concordant with a previous study of wild populations sampled across Africa, indicating that cytonuclear genomic dissociation was captured in the founders of the North American African elephant collection. These results are important for resolving questions that can potentially impact future management and breeding programs related to the collection.

  18. Skeletal development in the African elephant and ossification timing in placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Lionel; Stansfield, Fiona J; Allen, W R Twink; Asher, Robert J

    2012-06-07

    We provide here unique data on elephant skeletal ontogeny. We focus on the sequence of cranial and post-cranial ossification events during growth in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Previous analyses on ossification sequences in mammals have focused on monotremes, marsupials, boreoeutherian and xenarthran placentals. Here, we add data on ossification sequences in an afrotherian. We use two different methods to quantify sequence heterochrony: the sequence method and event-paring/Parsimov. Compared with other placentals, elephants show late ossifications of the basicranium, manual and pedal phalanges, and early ossifications of the ischium and metacarpals. Moreover, ossification in elephants starts very early and progresses rapidly. Specifically, the elephant exhibits the same percentage of bones showing an ossification centre at the end of the first third of its gestation period as the mouse and hamster have close to birth. Elephants show a number of features of their ossification patterns that differ from those of other placental mammals. The pattern of the initiation of the ossification evident in the African elephant underscores a possible correlation between the timing of ossification onset and gestation time throughout mammals.

  19. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the densities of high-value cross-border species, the African elephant.

    PubMed

    Selier, Sarah-Anne Jeanetta; Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    Unprecedented poaching levels triggered by demand for ivory in Far East Asia are threatening the persistence of African elephant Loxodonta africana. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in Africa. While the ecological factors affecting elephant distribution and densities have extensively been accounted for, there is a need to understand which socioeconomic factors affect elephant numbers in order to prevent conflict over limited space and resources with humans. We used elephant count data from aerial surveys for seven years in a generalized linear model, which accounted for temporal correlation, to investigate the effect of six socioeconomic and ecological variables on the number of elephant at the country level in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA). Important factors in predicting elephant numbers were the proportion of total land surface under cultivation, human population density and the number of tourists visiting the country. Specifically, elephant numbers were higher where the proportion of total land surface under cultivation was the lowest; where population density was the lowest and where tourist numbers had increased over the years. Our results confirm that human disturbance is affecting elephant numbers, but highlight that the benefits provided by ecotourism could help enhance elephant conservation. While future studies should include larger areas and more detailed data at the site level, we stress that the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land-use planning are needed to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agriculture on elephant.

  20. The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Greco, Brian J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jen N; Leighty, Katherine A; Mellen, Jill; Mason, Georgia J; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    Stereotypic behavior is an important indicator of compromised welfare. Zoo elephants are documented to perform stereotypic behavior, but the factors that contribute to performance have not been systematically assessed. We collected behavioral data on 89 elephants (47 African [Loxodonta africana], 42 Asian [Elephas maximus]) at 39 North American zoos during the summer and winter. Elephants were videoed for a median of 12 daytime hours per season. A subset of 32 elephants (19 African, 13 Asian) was also observed live for a median of 10.5 nighttime hours. Percentages of visible behavior scans were calculated from five minute instantaneous samples. Stereotypic behavior was the second most commonly performed behavior (after feeding), making up 15.5% of observations during the daytime and 24.8% at nighttime. Negative binomial regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations were used to determine which social, housing, management, life history, and demographic variables were associated with daytime and nighttime stereotypic behavior rates. Species was a significant risk factor in both models, with Asian elephants at greater risk (daytime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 4.087; nighttime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 8.015). For both species, spending time housed separately (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.009), and having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.175), increased the risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy during the day, while spending more time with juvenile elephants (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 0.985), and engaging with zoo staff reduced this risk (p = 0.018, Risk Ratio = 0.988). At night, spending more time in environments with both indoor and outdoor areas (p = 0.013, Risk Ratio = 0.987) and in larger social groups (p = 0.039, Risk Ratio = 0.752) corresponded with reduced risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy, while having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p = 0.033, Risk Ratio = 1.115) increased this risk. Overall, our results indicate

  1. The Days and Nights of Zoo Elephants: Using Epidemiology to Better Understand Stereotypic Behavior of African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Greco, Brian J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jen N.; Leighty, Katherine A.; Mellen, Jill; Mason, Georgia J.; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    Stereotypic behavior is an important indicator of compromised welfare. Zoo elephants are documented to perform stereotypic behavior, but the factors that contribute to performance have not been systematically assessed. We collected behavioral data on 89 elephants (47 African [Loxodonta africana], 42 Asian [Elephas maximus]) at 39 North American zoos during the summer and winter. Elephants were videoed for a median of 12 daytime hours per season. A subset of 32 elephants (19 African, 13 Asian) was also observed live for a median of 10.5 nighttime hours. Percentages of visible behavior scans were calculated from five minute instantaneous samples. Stereotypic behavior was the second most commonly performed behavior (after feeding), making up 15.5% of observations during the daytime and 24.8% at nighttime. Negative binomial regression models fitted with generalized estimating equations were used to determine which social, housing, management, life history, and demographic variables were associated with daytime and nighttime stereotypic behavior rates. Species was a significant risk factor in both models, with Asian elephants at greater risk (daytime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 4.087; nighttime: p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 8.015). For both species, spending time housed separately (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.009), and having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 1.175), increased the risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy during the day, while spending more time with juvenile elephants (p<0.001, Risk Ratio = 0.985), and engaging with zoo staff reduced this risk (p = 0.018, Risk Ratio = 0.988). At night, spending more time in environments with both indoor and outdoor areas (p = 0.013, Risk Ratio = 0.987) and in larger social groups (p = 0.039, Risk Ratio = 0.752) corresponded with reduced risk of performing higher rates of stereotypy, while having experienced inter-zoo transfers (p = 0.033, Risk Ratio = 1.115) increased this risk. Overall, our results indicate

  2. Reproductive Health Assessment of Female Elephants in North American Zoos and Association of Husbandry Practices with Reproductive Dysfunction in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Morfeld, Kari A.; Carlstead, Kathy

    2016-01-01

    As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the zoo environment are associated with reproductive problems, including ovarian acyclicity and hyperprolactinemia. Bi-weekly blood samples were collected from 95 African (Loxodonta africana) and 75 Asian (Elephas maximus) (8–55 years of age) elephants over a 12-month period for analysis of serum progestogens and prolactin. Females were categorized as normal cycling (regular 13- to 17-week cycles), irregular cycling (cycles longer or shorter than normal) or acyclic (baseline progestogens, <0.1 ng/ml throughout), and having Low/Normal (<14 or 18 ng/ml) or High (≥14 or 18 ng/ml) prolactin for Asian and African elephants, respectively. Rates of normal cycling, acyclicity and irregular cycling were 73.2, 22.5 and 4.2% for Asian, and 48.4, 37.9 and 13.7% for African elephants, respectively, all of which differed between species (P < 0.05). For African elephants, univariate assessment found that social isolation decreased and higher enrichment diversity increased the chance a female would cycle normally. The strongest multi-variable models included Age (positive) and Enrichment Diversity (negative) as important factors of acyclicity among African elephants. The Asian elephant data set was not robust enough to support multi-variable analyses of cyclicity status. Additionally, only 3% of Asian elephants were found to be hyperprolactinemic as compared to 28% of Africans, so predictive analyses of prolactin status were conducted on African elephants only. The strongest multi-variable model included Age (positive), Enrichment Diversity (negative), Alternate Feeding Methods (negative) and Social Group Contact (positive) as predictors of hyperprolactinemia. In summary, the incidence of ovarian cycle problems and hyperprolactinemia predominantly

  3. Reproductive Health Assessment of Female Elephants in North American Zoos and Association of Husbandry Practices with Reproductive Dysfunction in African Elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Brown, Janine L; Paris, Stephen; Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Morfeld, Kari A; Carlstead, Kathy

    2016-01-01

    As part of a multi-institutional study of zoo elephant welfare, we evaluated female elephants managed by zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and applied epidemiological methods to determine what factors in the zoo environment are associated with reproductive problems, including ovarian acyclicity and hyperprolactinemia. Bi-weekly blood samples were collected from 95 African (Loxodonta africana) and 75 Asian (Elephas maximus) (8-55 years of age) elephants over a 12-month period for analysis of serum progestogens and prolactin. Females were categorized as normal cycling (regular 13- to 17-week cycles), irregular cycling (cycles longer or shorter than normal) or acyclic (baseline progestogens, <0.1 ng/ml throughout), and having Low/Normal (<14 or 18 ng/ml) or High (≥14 or 18 ng/ml) prolactin for Asian and African elephants, respectively. Rates of normal cycling, acyclicity and irregular cycling were 73.2, 22.5 and 4.2% for Asian, and 48.4, 37.9 and 13.7% for African elephants, respectively, all of which differed between species (P < 0.05). For African elephants, univariate assessment found that social isolation decreased and higher enrichment diversity increased the chance a female would cycle normally. The strongest multi-variable models included Age (positive) and Enrichment Diversity (negative) as important factors of acyclicity among African elephants. The Asian elephant data set was not robust enough to support multi-variable analyses of cyclicity status. Additionally, only 3% of Asian elephants were found to be hyperprolactinemic as compared to 28% of Africans, so predictive analyses of prolactin status were conducted on African elephants only. The strongest multi-variable model included Age (positive), Enrichment Diversity (negative), Alternate Feeding Methods (negative) and Social Group Contact (positive) as predictors of hyperprolactinemia. In summary, the incidence of ovarian cycle problems and hyperprolactinemia predominantly affects

  4. African elephants show high levels of interest in the skulls and ivory of their own species.

    PubMed

    McComb, Karen; Baker, Lucy; Moss, Cynthia

    2006-03-22

    An important area of biology involves investigating the origins in animals of traits that are thought of as uniquely human. One way that humans appear unique is in the importance they attach to the dead bodies of other humans, particularly those of their close kin, and the rituals that they have developed for burying them. In contrast, most animals appear to show only limited interest in the carcasses or associated remains of dead individuals of their own species. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are unusual in that they not only give dramatic reactions to the dead bodies of other elephants, but are also reported to systematically investigate elephant bones and tusks that they encounter, and it has sometimes been suggested that they visit the bones of relatives. Here, we use systematic presentations of object arrays to demonstrate that African elephants show higher levels of interest in elephant skulls and ivory than in natural objects or the skulls of other large terrestrial mammals. However, they do not appear to specifically select the skulls of their own relatives for investigation so that visits to dead relatives probably result from a more general attraction to elephant remains.

  5. Laparoscopic vasectomy in African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana); surgical technique and results.

    PubMed

    Marais, Hendrik J; Hendrickson, Dean A; Stetter, Mark; Zuba, Jeffery R; Penning, Mark; Siegal-Willott, Jess; Hardy, Christine

    2013-12-01

    Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated. Bilateral vasectomies were performed in 45 elephants. Of these elephants, one died within 24 hr of recovery and two had complications during surgery but recovered uneventfully. Histologic examination confirmed the resected tissue as ductus deferens in all the bulls. Most animals recovered uneventfully and showed no abnormal behavior after surgery. Complications recorded included incisional dehiscence, 1 full-thickness and 2 partial-thickness lacerations of the large intestine, and initial sling-associated complications, for example, deep radial nerve paresis. One bull was found dead 6 weeks after surgery without showing any prior abnormal signs. Vasectomy in free-ranging African bull elephants may be effectively performed in their normal environment. The surgical procedure can be used as a realistic population management tool in free-ranging elephants without major anesthetic, surgical, or postoperative complications.

  6. Evaluation of Demographics and Social Life Events of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A.; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K.; Malloy, Elizabeth J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Mench, Joy A.; Carlstead, Kathy; Brown, Janine L.

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications. PMID:27415437

  7. Evaluation of Demographics and Social Life Events of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Prado-Oviedo, Natalia A; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K; Malloy, Elizabeth J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Mench, Joy A; Carlstead, Kathy; Brown, Janine L

    2016-01-01

    This study quantified social life events hypothesized to affect the welfare of zoo African and Asian elephants, focusing on animals that were part of a large multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional elephant welfare study in North America. Age was calculated based on recorded birth dates and an age-based account of life event data for each elephant was compiled. These event histories included facility transfers, births and deaths of offspring, and births and deaths of non-offspring herd mates. Each event was evaluated as a total number of events per elephant, lifetime rate of event exposure, and age at first event exposure. These were then compared across three categories: species (African vs. Asian); sex (male vs. female); and origin (imported vs. captive-born). Mean age distributions differed (p<0.05) between the categories: African elephants were 6 years younger than Asian elephants, males were 12 years younger than females, and captive-born elephants were 20 years younger than imported elephants. Overall, the number of transfers ranged from 0 to 10, with a 33% higher age-adjusted transfer rate for imported African than imported Asian elephants, and 37% lower rate for imported females than males (p<0.05). Other differences (p<0.05) included a 96% higher rate of offspring births for captive-born females than those imported from range countries, a 159% higher rate of birthing event exposures for captive-born males than for their imported counterparts, and Asian elephant females being 4 years younger than African females when they produced their first calf. In summarizing demographic and social life events of elephants in North American zoos, we found both qualitative and quantitative differences in the early lives of imported versus captive-born elephants that could have long-term welfare implications.

  8. Assessment of Flooring Renovations on African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Behavior and Glucocorticoid Response

    PubMed Central

    Boyle, Sarah A.; Roberts, Beth; Pope, Brittany M.; Blake, Margaret R.; Leavelle, Stephen E.; Marshall, Jennifer J.; Smith, Andrew; Hadicke, Amanda; Falcone, Josephine F.; Knott, Katrina; Kouba, Andrew J.

    2015-01-01

    Captive African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants can experience foot pathologies and arthritis. As a preventative measure against these pathologies and to alleviate the potential discomfort due to concrete substrates, some zoological institutions have renovated elephant housing to increase the amount of natural or shock-absorbent substrates. The objective of this study was to compare behavioral (diurnal and nocturnal) and glucorticoid (e.g., serum cortisol) responses of three female African elephants before, during, and after renovation to their indoor housing floor to assess whether renovations had short-term effects on the elephants’ behavior and stress physiology. Behavioral data were collected using scan-sampling methods, and activity budgets were constructed for each of the three elephants. In addition, the duration of all lying rest activities were recorded. Weekly serum cortisol concentrations were determined with enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Overall, eating was the most prevalent behavior exhibited outdoors during the day, while resting (either in a lying or standing position) were most common during the indoor, nocturnal periods. Although variation existed among the three elephants, all three females spent significantly more time walking and less time eating during the day after the completion of the renovations. The extent to which the three elephants exhibited nocturnal lying rest behavior varied among the elephants, with the oldest elephant exhibiting the least amount (an average of 13.2 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans) compared to the two younger elephants (an average of 34.5 ± 2.1% and 56.6 ± 2.8% of the nightly behavioral scans). There was a significant increase in lying rest behavior for one elephant and standing rest for a second elephant following renovations. Baseline cortisol concentrations prior to renovations were 3.0 ± 0.4 ng/ml, 4.5 ± 0.5 ng/ml, and 4.9 ± 0.5 ng/ml for the three elephants. Cortisol

  9. Influence of dominance status on adrenal activity and ovarian cyclicity status in captive African elephants.

    PubMed

    Proctor, Christine M; Freeman, Elizabeth W; Brown, Janine L

    2010-01-01

    The North American African (Loxodonta africana) elephant population is not self-sustaining, in part because of a high rate of abnormal ovarian activity. About 12% of adult females exhibit irregular cycles and 31% do not cycle at all. Our earlier work revealed a relationship between dominance status and ovarian acyclicity, with dominant females being more likely to not cycle normally. One theory is that dominant females may be expending more energy to maintaining peace within the captive herd than for supporting reproduction. The goal of this study was to determine if there was a relationship among dominance status, serum cortisol concentrations, and ovarian acyclicity. We hypothesized that adrenal glucocorticoid activity would be increased in dominant, noncycling elephants as compared with subdominant individuals. Blood samples were collected weekly over a 2-year period in 81 females of known dominance and cyclicity status, and analyzed for cortisol. Based on a path analysis model (Reticular Action Model Or Near Approximation [RAMONA]), noncycling, dominant African elephant females did not have higher mean serum cortisol concentrations, or exhibit more variability (i.e., coefficient of variation, standard deviation) in cortisol secretion. This study suggests that alterations in adrenal activity are not related to dominance status nor contribute directly to acyclicity in captive African elephants.

  10. Characterization of casein and alpha lactalbumin of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) milk.

    PubMed

    Madende, M; Osthoff, G; Patterton, H-G; Patterton, H E; Martin, P; Opperman, D J

    2015-12-01

    The current research reports partial characterization of the caseins and α-lactalbumin (α-LA) of the African elephant with proposed unique structure-function properties. Extensive research has been carried out to understand the structure of the casein micelles. Crystallographic structure elucidation of caseins and casein micelles is not possible. Consequently, several models have been developed in an effort to describe the casein micelle, specifically of cow milk. Here we report the characterization of African elephant milk caseins. The κ-caseins and β-caseins were investigated, and their relative ratio was found to be approximately 1:8.5, whereas α-caseins were not detected. The gene sequence of β-casein in the NCBI database was revisited, and a different sequence in the N-terminal region is proposed. Amino acid sequence alignment and hydropathy plots showed that the κ-casein of African elephant milk is similar to that of other mammals, whereas the β-casein is similar to the human protein, and displayed a section of unique AA composition and additional hydrophilic regions compared with bovine caseins. Elephant milk is destabilized by 62% alcohol, and it is speculated that the β-casein characteristics may allow maintenance of the colloidal nature of the casein micelle, a role that was previously only associated with κ-casein. The oligosaccharide content of milk was reported to be low in dairy animals but high in some other species such as humans and elephants. In the milk of the African elephant, lactose and oligosaccharides both occur at high levels. These levels are typically related to the content of α-LA in the mammary gland and thus point to a specialized carbohydrate synthesis, where the whey protein α-LA plays a role. We report the characterization of African elephant α-LA. Homology modeling of the α-LA showed that it is structurally similar to crystal structures of other mammalian species, which in turn may be an indication that its functional

  11. Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach

    PubMed Central

    Lee-Thorp, Julia; Collins, Matthew J.; Lane, Paul J.

    2016-01-01

    East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a ‘moving frontier’ of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies. PMID:27760152

  12. The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.

    PubMed

    Eggert, Lori S; Rasner, Caylor A; Woodruff, David S

    2002-10-07

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central Africa. We then combined our data with published control region sequences from across Africa to examine patterns at the continental level. Our analysis reveals several deeply divergent lineages that do not correspond with the currently recognized taxonomy: (i) the forest elephants of Central Africa; the forest and savannah elephants of West Africa; and (iii) the savannah elephants of eastern, southern and Central Africa. We propose that the complex phylogeographic patterns we detect in African elephants result from repeated continental-scale climatic changes over their five-to-six million year evolutionary history. Until there is consensus on the taxonomy, we suggest that the genetic and ecological distinctness of these lineages should be an important factor in conservation management planning.

  13. Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach.

    PubMed

    Coutu, Ashley N; Lee-Thorp, Julia; Collins, Matthew J; Lane, Paul J

    2016-01-01

    East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a 'moving frontier' of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies.

  14. The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers.

    PubMed Central

    Eggert, Lori S; Rasner, Caylor A; Woodruff, David S

    2002-01-01

    Recent genetic results support the recognition of two African elephant species: Loxodonta africana, the savannah elephant, and Loxodonta cyclotis, the forest elephant. The study, however, did not include the populations of West Africa, where the taxonomic affinities of elephants have been much debated. We examined mitochondrial cytochrome b control region sequences and four microsatellite loci to investigate the genetic differences between the forest and savannah elephants of West and Central Africa. We then combined our data with published control region sequences from across Africa to examine patterns at the continental level. Our analysis reveals several deeply divergent lineages that do not correspond with the currently recognized taxonomy: (i) the forest elephants of Central Africa; the forest and savannah elephants of West Africa; and (iii) the savannah elephants of eastern, southern and Central Africa. We propose that the complex phylogeographic patterns we detect in African elephants result from repeated continental-scale climatic changes over their five-to-six million year evolutionary history. Until there is consensus on the taxonomy, we suggest that the genetic and ecological distinctness of these lineages should be an important factor in conservation management planning. PMID:12396498

  15. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) recognize visual attention from face and body orientation

    PubMed Central

    Smet, Anna F.; Byrne, Richard W.

    2014-01-01

    How do animals determine when others are able and disposed to receive their communicative signals? In particular, it is futile to make a silent gesture when the intended audience cannot see it. Some non-human primates use the head and body orientation of their audience to infer visual attentiveness when signalling, but whether species relying less on visual information use such cues when producing visual signals is unknown. Here, we test whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are sensitive to the visual perspective of a human experimenter. We examined whether the frequency of gestures of head and trunk, produced to request food, was influenced by indications of an experimenter's visual attention. Elephants signalled significantly more towards the experimenter when her face was oriented towards them, except when her body faced away from them. These results suggest that elephants understand the importance of visual attention for effective communication. PMID:25013015

  16. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) recognize visual attention from face and body orientation.

    PubMed

    Smet, Anna F; Byrne, Richard W

    2014-07-01

    How do animals determine when others are able and disposed to receive their communicative signals? In particular, it is futile to make a silent gesture when the intended audience cannot see it. Some non-human primates use the head and body orientation of their audience to infer visual attentiveness when signalling, but whether species relying less on visual information use such cues when producing visual signals is unknown. Here, we test whether African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are sensitive to the visual perspective of a human experimenter. We examined whether the frequency of gestures of head and trunk, produced to request food, was influenced by indications of an experimenter's visual attention. Elephants signalled significantly more towards the experimenter when her face was oriented towards them, except when her body faced away from them. These results suggest that elephants understand the importance of visual attention for effective communication.

  17. A preliminary study of the behavioral effects of feeding enrichment on African elephants.

    PubMed

    Stoinski, T.S.; Daniel, E.; Maple, T.L.

    2000-01-01

    Although commonly practiced with many species, feeding enrichment in elephants is understudied. The behavioral effects of feeding enrichment were tested in three African elephants by substituting an equal dry weight of browse for hay in an ABA design. The results showed a significant increase in feeding and significant decreases in drinking and inactivity when the browse was present. Additionally, changes in feeding, inactivity, and time spent in contact were observed outside the time the browse was actually presented, although the relationship of these changes to the experimental methodology is unknown. A significant increase in visibility to zoo visitors during the browse conditions demonstrates that browse is an effective, naturalistic method for increasing visibility as well as species-typical behaviors. Managers of captive elephants should consult with a nutritionist to address issues of energetics, nutritional content, and secondary compounds when using browse as feeding enrichment. Zoo Biol 19:485-493, 2000. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  18. The influence of socioeconomic factors on the densities of high-value cross-border species, the African elephant

    PubMed Central

    Slotow, Rob; Di Minin, Enrico

    2016-01-01

    Unprecedented poaching levels triggered by demand for ivory in Far East Asia are threatening the persistence of African elephant Loxodonta africana. Southern African countries make an important contribution to elephant conservation and could soon become the last stronghold of elephant conservation in Africa. While the ecological factors affecting elephant distribution and densities have extensively been accounted for, there is a need to understand which socioeconomic factors affect elephant numbers in order to prevent conflict over limited space and resources with humans. We used elephant count data from aerial surveys for seven years in a generalized linear model, which accounted for temporal correlation, to investigate the effect of six socioeconomic and ecological variables on the number of elephant at the country level in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA). Important factors in predicting elephant numbers were the proportion of total land surface under cultivation, human population density and the number of tourists visiting the country. Specifically, elephant numbers were higher where the proportion of total land surface under cultivation was the lowest; where population density was the lowest and where tourist numbers had increased over the years. Our results confirm that human disturbance is affecting elephant numbers, but highlight that the benefits provided by ecotourism could help enhance elephant conservation. While future studies should include larger areas and more detailed data at the site level, we stress that the development of coordinated legislation and policies to improve land-use planning are needed to reduce the impact of increasing human populations and agriculture on elephant. PMID:27812404

  19. Paleocene emergence of elephant relatives and the rapid radiation of African ungulates.

    PubMed

    Gheerbrant, Emmanuel

    2009-06-30

    Elephants are the only living representatives of the Proboscidea, a formerly diverse mammalian order whose history began with the 55-million years (mys) old Phosphatherium. Reported here is the discovery from the early late Paleocene of Morocco, ca. 60 mys, of the oldest and most primitive elephant relative, Eritherium azzouzorum n.g., n.sp., which is one of the earliest known representatives of modern placental orders. This well supported stem proboscidean is extraordinarily primitive and condylarth-like. It provides the first dental evidence of a resemblance between the proboscideans and African ungulates (paenungulates) on the one hand and the louisinines and early macroscelideans on the other. Eritherium illustrates the origin of the elephant order at a previously unknown primitive stage among paenungulates and "ungulates." The primitive morphology of Eritherium suggests a recent and rapid paenungulate radiation after the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, probably favoured by early endemic African paleoecosystems. At a broader scale, Eritherium provides a new old calibration point of the placental tree and supports an explosive placental radiation. The Ouled Abdoun basin, which yields the oldest known African placentals, is a key locality for elucidating phylogeny and early evolution of paenungulates and other related endemic African lineages.

  20. Assigning African elephant DNA to geographic region of origin: Applications to the ivory trade

    PubMed Central

    Wasser, Samuel K.; Shedlock, Andrew M.; Comstock, Kenine; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2004-01-01

    Resurgence of illicit trade in African elephant ivory is placing the elephant at renewed risk. Regulation of this trade could be vastly improved by the ability to verify the geographic origin of tusks. We address this need by developing a combined genetic and statistical method to determine the origin of poached ivory. Our statistical approach exploits a smoothing method to estimate geographic-specific allele frequencies over the entire African elephants' range for 16 microsatellite loci, using 315 tissue and 84 scat samples from forest (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and savannah (Loxodonta africana africana) elephants at 28 locations. These geographic-specific allele frequency estimates are used to infer the geographic origin of DNA samples, such as could be obtained from tusks of unknown origin. We demonstrate that our method alleviates several problems associated with standard assignment methods in this context, and the absolute accuracy of our method is high. Continent-wide, 50% of samples were located within 500 km, and 80% within 932 km of their actual place of origin. Accuracy varied by region (median accuracies: West Africa, 135 km; Central Savannah, 286 km; Central Forest, 411 km; South, 535 km; and East, 697 km). In some cases, allele frequencies vary considerably over small geographic regions, making much finer discriminations possible and suggesting that resolution could be further improved by collection of samples from locations not represented in our study. PMID:15459317

  1. Assigning African elephant DNA to geographic region of origin: applications to the ivory trade.

    PubMed

    Wasser, Samuel K; Shedlock, Andrew M; Comstock, Kenine; Ostrander, Elaine A; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2004-10-12

    Resurgence of illicit trade in African elephant ivory is placing the elephant at renewed risk. Regulation of this trade could be vastly improved by the ability to verify the geographic origin of tusks. We address this need by developing a combined genetic and statistical method to determine the origin of poached ivory. Our statistical approach exploits a smoothing method to estimate geographic-specific allele frequencies over the entire African elephants' range for 16 microsatellite loci, using 315 tissue and 84 scat samples from forest (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) and savannah (Loxodonta africana africana) elephants at 28 locations. These geographic-specific allele frequency estimates are used to infer the geographic origin of DNA samples, such as could be obtained from tusks of unknown origin. We demonstrate that our method alleviates several problems associated with standard assignment methods in this context, and the absolute accuracy of our method is high. Continent-wide, 50% of samples were located within 500 km, and 80% within 932 km of their actual place of origin. Accuracy varied by region (median accuracies: West Africa, 135 km; Central Savannah, 286 km; Central Forest, 411 km; South, 535 km; and East, 697 km). In some cases, allele frequencies vary considerably over small geographic regions, making much finer discriminations possible and suggesting that resolution could be further improved by collection of samples from locations not represented in our study.

  2. Synergistic effects of fire and elephants on arboreal animals in an African savanna.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Robert M; Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Palmer, Todd M; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2015-11-01

    Disturbance is a crucial determinant of animal abundance, distribution and community structure in many ecosystems, but the ways in which multiple disturbance types interact remain poorly understood. The effects of multiple-disturbance interactions can be additive, subadditive or super-additive (synergistic). Synergistic effects in particular can accelerate ecological change; thus, characterizing such synergies, the conditions under which they arise, and how long they persist has been identified as a major goal of ecology. We factorially manipulated two principal sources of disturbance in African savannas, fire and elephants, and measured their independent and interactive effects on the numerically dominant vertebrate (the arboreal gekkonid lizard Lygodactylus keniensis) and invertebrate (a guild of symbiotic Acacia ants) animal species in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna. Elephant exclusion alone (minus fire) had negligible effects on gecko density. Fire alone (minus elephants) had negligible effects on gecko density after 4 months, but increased gecko density twofold after 16 months, likely because the decay of fire-damaged woody biomass created refuges and nest sites for geckos. In the presence of elephants, fire increased gecko density nearly threefold within 4 months of the experimental burn; this occurred because fire increased the incidence of elephant damage to trees, which in turn improved microhabitat quality for geckos. However, this synergistic positive effect of fire and elephants attenuated over the ensuing year, such that only the main effect of fire was evident after 16 months. Fire also altered the structure of symbiotic plant-ant assemblages occupying the dominant tree species (Acacia drepanolobium); this influenced gecko habitat selection but did not explain the synergistic effect of fire and elephants. However, fire-driven shifts in plant-ant occupancy may have indirectly mediated this effect by increasing trees' susceptibility to elephant damage. Our

  3. Neocortical neuronal morphology in the newborn giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Bob; Lee, Laura; Schall, Matthew; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Lewandowski, Albert H; Kottwitz, Jack J; Roberts, John F; Hof, Patrick R; Sherwood, Chet C

    2016-02-01

    Although neocortical neuronal morphology has been documented in the adult giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) and African elephant (Loxodonta africana), no research has explored the cortical architecture in newborns of these species. To this end, the current study examined the morphology of neurons from several cortical areas in the newborn giraffe and elephant. After cortical neurons were stained with a modified Golgi technique (N = 153), dendritic branching and spine distributions were analyzed by using computer-assisted morphometry. The results showed that newborn elephant neurons were considerably larger in terms of all dendritic and spine measures than newborn giraffe neurons. Qualitatively, neurons in the newborns appeared morphologically comparable to those in their adult counterparts. Neurons in the newborn elephant differed considerably from those observed in other placental mammals, including the giraffe, particularly with regard to the morphology of spiny projection neurons. Projection neurons were observed in both species, with a much larger variety in the elephant (e.g., flattened pyramidal, nonpyramidal multipolar, and inverted pyramidal neurons). Although local circuit neurons (i.e., interneurons, neurogliaform, Cajal-Retzius neurons) resembled those observed in other eutherian mammals, these were usually spiny, which contrasts with their adult, aspiny equivalents. Newborn projection neurons were smaller than the adult equivalents in both species, but newborn interneurons were approximately the same size as their adult counterparts. Cortical neuromorphology in the newborn giraffe is thus generally consistent with what has been observed in other cetartiodactyls, whereas newborn and adult elephant morphology appears to deviate substantially from what is commonly observed in other placental mammals.

  4. The structure of the cushions in the feet of African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, G E; Egger, G F; Hutchinson, J R; Groenewald, H B; Elsässer, L; Famini, D; Forstenpointner, G

    2006-01-01

    The uniquely designed limbs of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, support the weight of the largest terrestrial animal. Besides other morphological peculiarities, the feet are equipped with large subcutaneous cushions which play an important role in distributing forces during weight bearing and in storing or absorbing mechanical forces. Although the cushions have been discussed in the literature and captive elephants, in particular, are frequently affected by foot disorders, precise morphological data are sparse. The cushions in the feet of African elephants were examined by means of standard anatomical and histological techniques, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In both the forelimb and the hindlimb a 6th ray, the prepollex or prehallux, is present. These cartilaginous rods support the metacarpal or metatarsal compartment of the cushions. None of the rays touches the ground directly. The cushions consist of sheets or strands of fibrous connective tissue forming larger metacarpal/metatarsal and digital compartments and smaller chambers which were filled with adipose tissue. The compartments are situated between tarsal, metatarsal, metacarpal bones, proximal phalanges or other structures of the locomotor apparatus covering the bones palmarly/plantarly and the thick sole skin. Within the cushions, collagen, reticulin and elastic fibres are found. In the main parts, vascular supply is good and numerous nerves course within the entire cushion. Vater–Pacinian corpuscles are embedded within the collagenous tissue of the cushions and within the dermis. Meissner corpuscles are found in the dermal papillae of the foot skin. The micromorphology of elephant feet cushions resembles that of digital cushions in cattle or of the foot pads in humans but not that of digital cushions in horses. Besides their important mechanical properties, foot cushions in elephants seem to be very sensitive structures. PMID:17118065

  5. Evidence that hyperprolactinaemia is associated with ovarian acyclicity in female zoo African elephants.

    PubMed

    Dow, T L; Brown, J L

    2012-01-01

    African elephants of reproductive age in zoos are experiencing high rates of ovarian cycle problems (>40%) and low reproductive success. Previously, our laboratory found that 1/3 of acyclic females exhibit hyperprolactinaemia, a likely cause of ovarian dysfunction. This follow-up study re-examined hyperprolactinaemia in African elephants and found the problem has increased significantly to 71% of acyclic females. Circulating serum progestagens and prolactin were analysed in 31 normal cycling, 13 irregular cycling and 31 acyclic elephants for 12 months. In acyclic females, overall mean prolactin concentrations differed from cycling females (P < 0.05), with concentrations being either higher (n = 22; 54.90 ± 13.31 ngmL(-1)) or lower (n = 9; 6.47 ± 1.73 ngmL(-1)) than normal. No temporal patterns of prolactin secretion were evident in elephants that lacked progestagen cycles. In cycling females, prolactin was secreted in a cyclical manner, with higher concentrations observed during nonluteal (34.38 ± 1.77 and 32.75 ± 2.61 ngmL(-1)) than luteal (10.51 ± 0.30 and 9.67 ± 0.42 ngmL(-1)) phases for normal and irregular females, respectively. Of most concern was that over two-thirds of acyclic females now are hyperprolactinemic, a dramatic increase over that observed 7 years earlier. Furthermore, females of reproductive age constituted 45% of elephants with hyperprolactinaemia. Until the cause of this problem is identified and a treatment is developed, reproductive rates will remain suboptimal and the population nonsustaining.

  6. Detection of Quiescent Infections with Multiple Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs), Including EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7, within Lymphoid Lung Nodules or Lung and Spleen Tissue Samples from Five Asymptomatic Adult African Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Zong, Jian-Chao; Heaggans, Sarah Y.; Long, Simon Y.; Latimer, Erin M.; Nofs, Sally A.; Bronson, Ellen; Casares, Miguel; Fouraker, Michael D.; Pearson, Virginia R.; Richman, Laura K.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT More than 80 cases of lethal hemorrhagic disease associated with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) have been identified in young Asian elephants worldwide. Diagnostic PCR tests detected six types of EEHV in blood of elephants with acute disease, although EEHV1A is the predominant pathogenic type. Previously, the presence of herpesvirus virions within benign lung and skin nodules from healthy African elephants led to suggestions that African elephants may be the source of EEHV disease in Asian elephants. Here, we used direct PCR-based DNA sequencing to detect EEHV genomes in necropsy tissue from five healthy adult African elephants. Two large lung nodules collected from culled wild South African elephants contained high levels of either EEHV3 alone or both EEHV2 and EEHV3. Similarly, a euthanized U.S. elephant proved to harbor multiple EEHV types distributed nonuniformly across four small lung nodules, including high levels of EEHV6, lower levels of EEHV3 and EEHV2, and a new GC-rich branch type, EEHV7. Several of the same EEHV types were also detected in random lung and spleen samples from two other elephants. Sanger PCR DNA sequence data comprising 100 kb were obtained from a total of 15 different strains identified, with (except for a few hypervariable genes) the EEHV2, EEHV3, and EEHV6 strains all being closely related to known genotypes from cases of acute disease, whereas the seven loci (4.0 kb) obtained from EEHV7 averaged 18% divergence from their nearest relative, EEHV3. Overall, we conclude that these four EEHV species, but probably not EEHV1, occur commonly as quiescent infections in African elephants. IMPORTANCE Acute hemorrhagic disease characterized by high-level viremia due to infection by members of the Proboscivirus genus threatens the future breeding success of endangered Asian elephants worldwide. Although the genomes of six EEHV types from acute cases have been partially or fully characterized, lethal disease predominantly

  7. Development of a Body Condition Scoring Index for Female African Elephants Validated by Ultrasound Measurements of Subcutaneous Fat

    PubMed Central

    Morfeld, Kari A.; Lehnhardt, John; Alligood, Christina; Bolling, Jeff; Brown, Janine L.

    2014-01-01

    Obesity-related health and reproductive problems may be contributing to non-sustainability of zoo African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations. However, a major constraint in screening for obesity in elephants is lack of a practical method to accurately assess body fat. Body condition scoring (BCS) is the assessment of subcutaneous fat stores based on visual evaluation and provides an immediate appraisal of the degree of obesity of an individual. The objective of this study was to develop a visual BCS index for female African elephants and validate it using ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat. To develop the index, standardized photographs were collected from zoo (n = 50) and free-ranging (n = 57) female African elephants for identifying key body regions and skeletal features, which were then used to visually determine body fat deposition patterns. This information was used to develop a visual BCS method consisting of a list of body regions and the physical criteria for assigning an overall score on a 5-point scale, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 representing the highest levels of body fat. Results showed that as BCS increased, ultrasound measures of subcutaneous fat thickness also increased (P<0.01), indicating the scores closely coincide with physical measures of fat reserves. The BCS index proved to be reliable and repeatable based on high intra- and inter-assessor agreement across three assessors. In comparing photographs of wild vs. captive African elephants, the median BCS in the free-ranging individuals (BCS = 3, range 1–5) was lower (P<0.001) than that of the zoo population (BCS = 4, range 2–5). In sum, we have developed the first validated BCS index for African elephants. This tool can be used to examine which factors impact body condition in zoo and free-ranging elephants, providing valuable information on how it affects health and reproductive potential of individual elephants. PMID:24718304

  8. Molecular phylogenetics of the elephant schistosome Bivitellobilharzia loxodontae (Trematoda: Schistosomatidae) from the Central African Republic.

    PubMed

    Brant, S V; Pomajbíková, K; Modry, D; Petrželková, K J; Todd, A; Loker, E S

    2013-03-01

    One of the most poorly known of all schistosomes infecting mammals is Bivitellobilharzia loxodontae. Nearly all of our available information about this species comes from the original description of worms that were obtained from an animal park-maintained elephant in Germany, probably a forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis, originating from the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. We obtained schistosome eggs from faecal samples from wild forest elephants from the Central African Republic. The eggs, which were similar in size and shape to those of described B. loxodontae, were sequenced for the 28S nuclear ribosomal gene and the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (cox1) gene. In a phylogenetic analysis of 28S sequences, our specimens grouped closely with B. nairi, the schistosome from the Indian elephant Elephas maximus, to the exclusion of schistosomes from other genera. However, the eggs were genetically distinct (12% distance cox1) from those of B. nairi. We conclude the specimens we recovered were of B. loxodontae and confirm this is a distinct Bivitellobilharzia species. In addition to providing the first sequence data for B. loxodontae, this report also supports Bivitellobilharzia as a monophyletic group and gives the relative phylogenetic position of the genus within the Schistosomatidae. We also provide a review of the biology of this poorly known schistosome genus.

  9. Estimating daily walking distance of captive African elephants using an accelerometer.

    PubMed

    Rothwell, Emily S; Bercovitch, Fred B; Andrews, Jeff R M; Anderson, Matthew J

    2011-01-01

    Two central concerns for elephant husbandry and management are whether zoological enclosures are appropriately sized and the degree to which naturalistic exercise and activity are observed in such enclosures. In order to address these issues, accurate data on the daily walking distance of elephants both in situ and ex situ are necessary. We used an accelerometer, a pedometer that measures step count and activity level, to estimate walking distance in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. The accelerometer was worn simultaneously with a GPS unit that recorded actual walking distance. Estimates of walking distance were extrapolated from the accelerometer and compared with actual distances determined by GPS data. The accelerometer was found to overestimate step count, and subsequently walking distance, by including false counts of steps. Extrapolating walking distance based upon stride length measurements did not match actual GPS walking distance. However, activity level output from the accelerometer significantly correlated with actual GPS walking distance. In addition, we report that the rate of movement is comparable to that reported in other zoological settings. We provide a linear regression equation that can be utilized by other institutions to estimate daily walking distance of elephants in their collection who are outfitted with accelerometers.

  10. Legal ivory trade in a corrupt world and its impact on African elephant populations.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Elizabeth L

    2015-02-01

    Illegal hunting of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory is causing rapid declines in their populations. Since 2007, illegal ivory trade has more than doubled. African elephants are facing the most serious conservation crisis since 1989, when international trade was banned. One solution proposed is establishment of a controlled legal trade in ivory. High prices for ivory mean that the incentives to obtain large quantities are high, but the quantity of tusks available for trade are biologically constrained. Within that context, effective management of a legal ivory trade would require robust systems to be in place to ensure that ivory from illegally killed elephants cannot be laundered into a legal market. At present, that is not feasible due to corruption among government officials charged with implementing wildlife-related legislation. With organized criminal enterprises involved along the whole commodity chain, corruption enables the laundering of illegal ivory into legal or potentially legal markets. Poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble, so the financial incentives to break the law heavily outweigh those of abiding by it. Maintaining reliable permitting systems and leak-proof chains of custody in this context is challenging, and effective management breaks down. Once illegal ivory has entered the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and illegal. Addressing corruption throughout a trade network that permeates countries across the globe will take decades, if it can ever be achieved. That will be too late for wild African elephants at current rates of loss. If we are to conserve remaining wild populations, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets.

  11. Testing the Accuracy of Aerial Surveys for Large Mammals: An Experiment with African Savanna Elephants (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Schlossberg, Scott; Chase, Michael J.; Griffin, Curtice R.

    2016-01-01

    Accurate counts of animals are critical for prioritizing conservation efforts. Past research, however, suggests that observers on aerial surveys may fail to detect all individuals of the target species present in the survey area. Such errors could bias population estimates low and confound trend estimation. We used two approaches to assess the accuracy of aerial surveys for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) in northern Botswana. First, we used double-observer sampling, in which two observers make observations on the same herds, to estimate detectability of elephants and determine what variables affect it. Second, we compared total counts, a complete survey of the entire study area, against sample counts, in which only a portion of the study area is sampled. Total counts are often considered a complete census, so comparing total counts against sample counts can help to determine if sample counts are underestimating elephant numbers. We estimated that observers detected only 76% ± SE of 2% of elephant herds and 87 ± 1% of individual elephants present in survey strips. Detectability increased strongly with elephant herd size. Out of the four observers used in total, one observer had a lower detection probability than the other three, and detectability was higher in the rear row of seats than the front. The habitat immediately adjacent to animals also affected detectability, with detection more likely in more open habitats. Total counts were not statistically distinguishable from sample counts. Because, however, the double-observer samples revealed that observers missed 13% of elephants, we conclude that total counts may be undercounting elephants as well. These results suggest that elephant population estimates from both sample and total counts are biased low. Because factors such as observer and habitat affected detectability of elephants, comparisons of elephant populations across time or space may be confounded. We encourage survey teams to

  12. Aspects of elephant behavior, ecology, and interactions with humans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connell, Caitlin Elizabeth

    This dissertation is comprised of two chapters relating to the acoustic behavior of elephants, their surrounding ecology and interactions with humans. The first chapter investigates the seismic aspects of Asian elephant (Elephus maximus) acoustic communication. The second chapter is comprised of a synthesis of two separate studies conducted on the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Namibia, both in Etosha National Park and the Caprivi region. The two studies were combined and published in Biological Conservation as one large study on aspects of the economic and social impacts of elephant/human conflict and experiments conducted to reduce conflict. In chapter one, seismic and acoustic data were recorded simultaneously from Asian elephants during periods of vocalizations and locomotion. Acoustic and seismic signals from rumbles were highly correlated at near and far distances and were in phase near the elephant and were out of phase at an increased distance from the elephant. Data analyses indicated that elephant generated signals associated with rumbles and "foot stomps" propagated at different velocities in the two media, the acoustic signals traveling at 309 m/s and the seismic signals at 248--264 m/s. Both types of signals had predominant frequencies in the range of 20 Hz. Seismic signal amplitudes considerably above background noise were recorded at 40 m from the generating elephants for both the rumble and the stomp. Seismic propagation models suggest that seismic waveforms from vocalizations are potentially detectable by instruments at distances of up to 16 km, and up to 32 km for locomotion generated signals. Thus, if detectable by elephants, these seismic signals could be useful for long distance communication. In chapter two, the economic impact of elephants, Loxodonta africana , and predators, particularly lions, Panthera leo, on rural agriculturists in the Kwando region of the East Caprivi, Namibia was assessed from the years 1991 to 1995. Elephants

  13. Simultaneous modeling of habitat suitability, occupancy, and relative abundance: African elephants in Zimbabwe.

    PubMed

    Martin, Julien; Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Nichols, James D; Fritz, Hervé; Hines, James E; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J; MacKenzie, Darryl I; Bailey, Larissa L

    2010-06-01

    The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Here we show how such methodology may be implemented and derive estimates of annual transition probabilities among three dry-season states for water holes: (1) unsuitable state (dry water holes with no elephants); (2) suitable state (water hole with water) with low abundance of elephants; and (3) suitable state with high abundance of elephants. We found that annual rainfall and the number of neighboring water holes influenced the transition probabilities among these three states. Because of an increase in elephant densities in the park during the study period, we also found that transition probabilities from low abundance to high abundance states increased over time. The application of the joint habitat-occupancy models provides a coherent framework to examine how habitat suitability and factors that affect habitat suitability influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. We discuss how these simple models can further be used to apply structured decision-making tools in order to derive decisions that are optimal relative to specified management objectives. The modeling framework presented in this paper should be applicable to a wide range of existing data sets and should help to address important ecological

  14. Simultaneous modeling of habitat suitability, occupancy, and relative abundance: African elephants in Zimbabwe

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, Julien; Chamaille-Jammes, Simon; Nichols, James D.; Fritz, Herve; Hines, James E.; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J.; MacKenzie, Darryl I.; Bailey, Larissa L.

    2010-01-01

    The recent development of statistical models such as dynamic site occupancy models provides the opportunity to address fairly complex management and conservation problems with relatively simple models. However, surprisingly few empirical studies have simultaneously modeled habitat suitability and occupancy status of organisms over large landscapes for management purposes. Joint modeling of these components is particularly important in the context of management of wild populations, as it provides a more coherent framework to investigate the population dynamics of organisms in space and time for the application of management decision tools. We applied such an approach to the study of water hole use by African elephants in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Here we show how such methodology may be implemented and derive estimates of annual transition probabilities among three dry-season states for water holes: (1) unsuitable state (dry water holes with no elephants); (2) suitable state (water hole with water) with low abundance of elephants; and (3) suitable state with high abundance of elephants. We found that annual rainfall and the number of neighboring water holes influenced the transition probabilities among these three states. Because of an increase in elephant densities in the park during the study period, we also found that transition probabilities from low abundance to high abundance states increased over time. The application of the joint habitat–occupancy models provides a coherent framework to examine how habitat suitability and factors that affect habitat suitability influence the distribution and abundance of organisms. We discuss how these simple models can further be used to apply structured decision-making tools in order to derive decisions that are optimal relative to specified management objectives. The modeling framework presented in this paper should be applicable to a wide range of existing data sets and should help to address important ecological

  15. Evidence of Positive Selection in Mitochondrial Complexes I and V of the African Elephant

    PubMed Central

    Finch, Tabitha M.; Zhao, Nan; Korkin, Dmitry; Frederick, Katy H.; Eggert, Lori S.

    2014-01-01

    As species evolve, they become adapted to their local environments. Detecting the genetic signature of selection and connecting that to the phenotype of the organism, however, is challenging. Here we report using an integrative approach that combines DNA sequencing with structural biology analyses to assess the effect of selection on residues in the mitochondrial DNA of the two species of African elephants. We detected evidence of positive selection acting on residues in complexes I and V, and we used homology protein structure modeling to assess the effect of the biochemical properties of the selected residues on the enzyme structure. Given the role these enzymes play in oxidative phosphorylation, we propose that the selected residues may contribute to the metabolic adaptation of forest and savanna elephants to their unique habitats. PMID:24695069

  16. Evidence of positive selection in mitochondrial complexes I and V of the African elephant.

    PubMed

    Finch, Tabitha M; Zhao, Nan; Korkin, Dmitry; Frederick, Katy H; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-01-01

    As species evolve, they become adapted to their local environments. Detecting the genetic signature of selection and connecting that to the phenotype of the organism, however, is challenging. Here we report using an integrative approach that combines DNA sequencing with structural biology analyses to assess the effect of selection on residues in the mitochondrial DNA of the two species of African elephants. We detected evidence of positive selection acting on residues in complexes I and V, and we used homology protein structure modeling to assess the effect of the biochemical properties of the selected residues on the enzyme structure. Given the role these enzymes play in oxidative phosphorylation, we propose that the selected residues may contribute to the metabolic adaptation of forest and savanna elephants to their unique habitats.

  17. Genetic relatedness and disrupted social structure in a poached population of African elephants.

    PubMed

    Gobush, Kathleen; Kerr, Ben; Wasser, Samuel

    2009-02-01

    We use genetic measures of relatedness and observations of female bonding to examine the demographic signature of historically heavy poaching of a population of free-ranging African elephants. We collected dung samples to obtain DNA and observed behaviour from 102 elephant families over a 25-month period in 2003-2005 in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Poaching reduced the population by 75% in the decade prior to the 1989 ivory trade ban; park records indicate that poaching dropped significantly in Mikumi following the ban. Using 10 microsatellite loci, DNA was genotyped in 203 elephants and pair-wise relatedness was calculated among adult females within and between groups. The Mikumi population is characterized by small group size, considerable variation in group relatedness, females with no first-order adult relatives and females that form only weak social bonds. We used gene-drop analysis and a model of a genetically intact pedigree to compare our observed Mikumi group relatedness to a simulated genetically intact unpoached expectation. The majority of groups in Mikumi contain 2 to 3 adults; of these, 45% were classified as genetically disrupted. Bonding, quantified with a pair-wise association index, was significantly correlated with relatedness; however only half of the females formed strong bonds with other females, and relatedness was substantially lower for a given bond strength as compared to an unpoached population. Female African elephants without kin demonstrated considerable behavioural plasticity in this disturbed environment, grouping with other females lacking kin, with established groups, or remaining alone, unable to form any stable adult female-bonds. We interpret these findings as the remaining effect of poaching disturbance in Mikumi, despite a drop in the level of poaching since the commercial trade in ivory was banned 15 years ago.

  18. The vocal repertoire of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus): structure and function of calls.

    PubMed

    Favaro, Livio; Ozella, Laura; Pessani, Daniela

    2014-01-01

    The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is a highly social and vocal seabird. However, currently available descriptions of the vocal repertoire of African Penguin are mostly limited to basic descriptions of calls. Here we provide, for the first time, a detailed description of the vocal behaviour of this species by collecting audio and video recordings from a large captive colony. We combine visual examinations of spectrograms with spectral and temporal acoustic analyses to determine vocal categories. Moreover, we used a principal component analysis, followed by signal classification with a discriminant function analysis, for statistical validation of the vocalisation types. In addition, we identified the behavioural contexts in which calls were uttered. The results show that four basic vocalisations can be found in the vocal repertoire of adult African Penguin, namely a contact call emitted by isolated birds, an agonistic call used in aggressive interactions, an ecstatic display song uttered by single birds, and a mutual display song vocalised by pairs, at their nests. Moreover, we identified two distinct vocalisations interpreted as begging calls by nesting chicks (begging peep) and unweaned juveniles (begging moan). Finally, we discussed the importance of specific acoustic parameters in classifying calls and the possible use of the source-filter theory of vocal production to study penguin vocalisations.

  19. Qualitative comparison of the cranio-dental osteology of the extant elephants, Elephas Maximus (Asian elephant) and Loxodonta africana (African elephant).

    PubMed

    Todd, Nancy E

    2010-01-01

    Few osteological descriptions of the extant elephants and no detailed morphological comparison of the two genera, Elephas and Loxodonta, have been done in recent years. In this study, 786 specimens of extant elephants (crania, mandibles, and molars) were examined for characters unique to each species. Differences between sexes in each species were described, as well as differences between subspecies of each species. Striking differences in morphology were noted between sexes of both elephants and between subspecies, which may complement current genetic studies, the focus of which is to determine division at the subspecies or species level, particularly differences between the savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) and the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). In addition, examination of the two living elephants provides an excellent dataset for identifying phylogenetic characters for use in examining evolutionary relationships within and between fossil lineages of elephantids.

  20. Acquisition of brains from the African elephant (Loxodonta africana): perfusion-fixation and dissection.

    PubMed

    Manger, Paul R; Pillay, Praneshri; Maseko, Busisiwe C; Bhagwandin, Adhil; Gravett, Nadine; Moon, Don-Joon; Jillani, Ngalla; Hemingway, Jason

    2009-04-30

    The current correspondence describes the in situ perfusion-fixation of the brain of the African elephant. Due to both the large size of proboscidean brains and the complex behaviour of these species, the acquisition of good quality material for comparative neuroanatomical analysis from these species is important. Three male African elephants (20-30 years) that were to be culled as part of a larger population management strategy were used. The animals were humanely euthanized and the head removed from the body. Large tubes were inserted into to the carotid arteries and the cranial vasculature flushed with a rapid (20 min) rinse of 100 l of cold saline (4 degrees C). Following the rinse the head was perfusion-fixed with a slower rinse (40 min) of 100 l of cold (4 degrees C) 4% paraformaldehyde in 0.1M phosphate buffer. This procedure resulted in well-fixed neural and other tissue. After perfusion the brains were removed from the skull with the aid of power tools, a procedure taking between 2 and 6h. The brains were immediately post-fixed in the same solution for 72 h at 4 degrees C. The brains were subsequently placed in a sucrose solution and finally an antifreeze solution and are stored in a -20 degrees C freezer. The acquisition of high quality neural material from African elephants that can be used for immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy is of importance in understanding the "hardware" underlying the behaviour of this species. This technique can be used on a variety of large mammals to obtain high quality material for comparative neuroanatomical studies.

  1. A preliminary analysis of the immunoglobulin genes in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Guo, Yongchen; Bao, Yonghua; Wang, Hui; Hu, Xiaoxiang; Zhao, Zhihui; Li, Ning; Zhao, Yaofeng

    2011-02-25

    The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain), Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain), and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain) loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 V(H) gene segments, 87 D(H) gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far), six J(H) gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps). The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86), contains a total of 153 V(κ) gene segments, three J(κ) segments, and a single C(κ) gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these V(κ) gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 V(λ) gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream J(λ)-C(λ) cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals.

  2. Environmental conditions associated with repetitive behavior in a group of African elephants.

    PubMed

    Hasenjager, Matthew J; Bergl, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    Repetitive movement patterns are commonly observed in zoo elephants. The extent to which these behaviors constitute a welfare concern varies, as their expression ranges from stereotypies to potentially beneficial anticipatory behaviors. Nevertheless, their occurrence in zoo animals is often viewed negatively. To better identify conditions that prompt their performance, observations were conducted on six African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at the North Carolina Zoo. Individuals spent most of their time engaged in feeding, locomotion, resting, and repetitive behavior. Both generalized estimating equation and zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to identify factors associated with increased rates of repetitive behavior. Time of day in conjunction with location on- or off-exhibit best explained patterns of repetitive behavior. Repetitive behaviors occurred at a lower rate in the morning when on-exhibit, as compared to afternoons on-exhibit or at any time of day off-exhibit. Increased repetitive behavior rates observed on-exhibit in the afternoon prior to the evening transfer and feeding were possibly anticipatory responses towards those events. In contrast, consistently elevated frequencies of repetitive behavior off-exhibit at all times of day could be related to differences in exhibit complexity between off-exhibit and on-exhibit areas, as well as a lack of additional foraging opportunities. Our study contributes valuable information on captive elephant behavior and represents a good example of how behavioral research can be employed to improve management of zoo animals.

  3. A Preliminary Analysis of the Immunoglobulin Genes in the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Yongchen; Bao, Yonghua; Wang, Hui; Hu, Xiaoxiang; Zhao, Zhihui; Li, Ning; Zhao, Yaofeng

    2011-01-01

    The genomic organization of the IgH (Immunoglobulin heavy chain), Igκ (Immunoglobulin kappa chain), and Igλ (Immunoglobulin lambda chain) loci in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was annotated using available genome data. The elephant IgH locus on scaffold 57 spans over 2,974 kb, and consists of at least 112 VH gene segments, 87 DH gene segments (the largest number in mammals examined so far), six JH gene segments, a single μ, a δ remnant, and eight γ genes (α and ε genes are missing, most likely due to sequence gaps). The Igκ locus, found on three scaffolds (202, 50 and 86), contains a total of 153 Vκ gene segments, three Jκ segments, and a single Cκ gene. Two different transcriptional orientations were determined for these Vκ gene segments. In contrast, the Igλ locus on scaffold 68 includes 15 Vλ gene segments, all with the same transcriptional polarity as the downstream Jλ-Cλ cluster. These data suggest that the elephant immunoglobulin gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex. Our results provide insights into the immunoglobulin genes in a placental mammal that is evolutionarily distant from humans, mice, and domestic animals. PMID:21364892

  4. Geographic variations in the composition of ivory of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Raubenheimer, E J; Brown, J M; Rama, D B; Dreyer, M J; Smith, P D; Dauth, J

    1998-08-01

    Tracing the source of origin of illegal ivory will contribute to the identification of poorly managed game parks and facilitate steps taken to prevent the African elephant from becoming extinct. This study was aimed at establishing a database on the composition of ivory obtained from elephant sanctuary areas in Southern Africa. Fragments of elephant ivory from seven geographically distinct areas in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana were analysed for inorganic and organic content. A total of 20 elements was detected in the inorganic fraction of ivory, some in concentrations as low as 0.25 microg/g. The concentrations of calcium, phosphate, magnesium, fluoride, cobalt and zinc showed statistically significant differences (p < 0.007) between ivory obtained from different regions. Analyses of the organic fraction identified 17 amino acids. Ivory from arid regions showed significantly lower proline plus hydroxyproline content and under-hydroxylation of lysine residues. This study indicates that chemical analyses of ivory could be beneficial in tracing the source of illegal ivory.

  5. Complex vibratory patterns in an elephant larynx.

    PubMed

    Herbst, Christian T; Svec, Jan G; Lohscheller, Jörg; Frey, Roland; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Stoeger, Angela S; Fitch, W Tecumseh

    2013-11-01

    Elephants' low-frequency vocalizations are produced by flow-induced self-sustaining oscillations of laryngeal tissue. To date, little is known in detail about the vibratory phenomena in the elephant larynx. Here, we provide a first descriptive report of the complex oscillatory features found in the excised larynx of a 25 year old female African elephant (Loxodonta africana), the largest animal sound generator ever studied experimentally. Sound production was documented with high-speed video, acoustic measurements, air flow and sound pressure level recordings. The anatomy of the larynx was studied with computed tomography (CT) and dissections. Elephant CT vocal anatomy data were further compared with the anatomy of an adult human male. We observed numerous unusual phenomena, not typically reported in human vocal fold vibrations. Phase delays along both the inferior-superior and anterior-posterior (A-P) dimension were commonly observed, as well as transverse travelling wave patterns along the A-P dimension, previously not documented in the literature. Acoustic energy was mainly created during the instant of glottal opening. The vestibular folds, when adducted, participated in tissue vibration, effectively increasing the generated sound pressure level by 12 dB. The complexity of the observed phenomena is partly attributed to the distinct laryngeal anatomy of the elephant larynx, which is not simply a large-scale version of its human counterpart. Travelling waves may be facilitated by low fundamental frequencies and increased vocal fold tension. A travelling wave model is proposed, to account for three types of phenomena: A-P travelling waves, 'conventional' standing wave patterns, and irregular vocal fold vibration.

  6. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade.

    PubMed

    Cerling, Thure E; Barnette, Janet E; Chesson, Lesley A; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S; Uno, Kevin T; Wasser, Samuel K; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-11-22

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little "old" ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of "rapid" transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon-Gabon-Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products.

  7. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cerling, Thure E.; Barnette, Janet E.; Chesson, Lesley A.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S.; Uno, Kevin T.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-11-01

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon-Gabon-Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products.

  8. Radiocarbon dating of seized ivory confirms rapid decline in African elephant populations and provides insight into illegal trade

    PubMed Central

    Cerling, Thure E.; Barnette, Janet E.; Chesson, Lesley A.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Gobush, Kathleen S.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Xu, Xiaomei

    2016-01-01

    Carbon-14 measurements on 231 elephant ivory specimens from 14 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 ton) made between 2002 and 2014 show that most ivory (ca. 90%) was derived from animals that had died less than 3 y before ivory was confiscated. This indicates that the assumption of recent elephant death for mortality estimates of African elephants is correct: Very little “old” ivory is included in large ivory shipments from Africa. We found only one specimen of the 231 analyzed to have a lag time longer than 6 y. Patterns of trade differ by regions: East African ivory, based on genetic assignments of geographic origin, has a much higher fraction of “rapid” transit than ivory originating in the Tridom region of Cameroon–Gabon–Congo. Carbon-14 is an important tool in understanding patterns of movement of illegal wildlife products. PMID:27821744

  9. A Comparison of Walking Rates Between Wild and Zoo African Elephants.

    PubMed

    Miller, Lance J; Chase, Michael J; Hacker, Charlotte E

    2016-01-01

    With increased scrutiny surrounding the welfare of elephants in zoological institutions, it is important to have empirical evidence on their current welfare status. If elephants are not receiving adequate exercise, it could lead to obesity, which can lead to many issues including acyclicity and potentially heart disease. The goal of the current study was to compare the walking rates of elephants in the wild versus elephants in zoos to determine if elephants are walking similar distances relative to their wild counterparts. Eleven wild elephants throughout different habitats and locations in Botswana were compared to 8 elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Direct comparisons revealed no significant difference in average walking rates of zoo elephants when compared with wild elephants. These results suggest that elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park walk similar rates to those of wild elephants and may be meeting their exercise needs.

  10. Species-specific loss of sexual dimorphism in vocal effectors accompanies vocal simplification in African clawed frogs (Xenopus).

    PubMed

    Leininger, Elizabeth C; Kitayama, Ken; Kelley, Darcy B

    2015-03-01

    Phylogenetic studies can reveal patterns of evolutionary change, including the gain or loss of elaborate courtship traits in males. Male African clawed frogs generally produce complex and rapid courtship vocalizations, whereas female calls are simple and slow. In a few species, however, male vocalizations are also simple and slow, suggesting loss of male-typical traits. Here, we explore features of the male vocal organ that could contribute to loss in two species with simple, slow male calls. In Xenopus boumbaensis, laryngeal morphology is more robust in males than in females. Larynges are larger, have a more complex cartilaginous morphology and contain more muscle fibers. Laryngeal muscle fibers are exclusively fast-twitch in males but are both fast- and slow-twitch in females. The laryngeal electromyogram, a measure of neuromuscular synaptic strength, shows greater potentiation in males than in females. Male-specific physiological features are shared with X. laevis, as well as with a species of the sister clade, Silurana tropicalis, and thus are likely ancestral. In X. borealis, certain aspects of laryngeal morphology and physiology are sexually monomorphic rather than dimorphic. In both sexes, laryngeal muscle fibers are of mixed-twitch type, which limits the production of muscle contractions at rapid intervals. Muscle activity potentiation and discrete tension transients resemble female rather than male X. boumbaensis. The de-masculinization of these laryngeal features suggests an alteration in sensitivity to the gonadal hormones that are known to control the sexual differentiation of the larynx in other Xenopus and Silurana species.

  11. Dietary management, husbandry, and body weights of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) during successful pregnancies at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Kathleen; Kerr, Katherine; Wanty, Rachel; Amaral, Bryan; Olea-Popelka, Francisco; Valdes, Eduardo

    2016-11-01

    Successful pregnancy in African elephants is influenced by biological and environmental factors. For managed elephants many of these factors are set directly or indirectly by their human care takers, including nutrition and husbandry. While African elephants often struggle to conceive and produce healthy offspring under human care, Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK) has effectively managed six gestations to fruition in three cows. Despite differences between mothers in terms of BW and growth curves during gravidity, each pregnancy successfully resulted in the birth of a healthy calf. Body weight (BW) gain during pregnancy ranged from 245 to 558 kg. Obesity in elephants is associated with increased occurrence of dystocia and mortality of the fetus and mother, hence understanding normal weight gains is an integral concept. Diet (dry matter basis) included high levels of fiber throughout pregnancies (60-70% neutral detergent fiber), vitamin E supplementation (116-214 mg/kg diet of alpha-tocopherol), as well as low levels of starch (2.5-5.1%) and crude fat (1.9-2.4%). Caretaker directed exercise during pregnancy at DAK served to prevent ventral edema, and increase muscle tone to prepare cows for parturition. Demonstrating techniques for effective care of pregnant females, as well as normal growth curves and fluctuations under ex situ conditions are necessary for future positive outcomes. Ensuring reproductive success through proper husbandry and nutrition are a key to long-term conservation of elephants. Zoo Biol. 35:574-578, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Fecal 20-oxo-pregnane concentrations in free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) treated with porcine zona pellucida vaccine.

    PubMed

    Ahlers, M J; Ganswindt, A; Münscher, S; Bertschinger, H J

    2012-07-01

    Because of overpopulation of African elephants in South Africa and the consequent threat to biodiversity, the need for a method of population control has become evident. In this regard, the potential use of the porcine zona pellucida (pZP) vaccine as an effective means for population control is explored. While potential effects of pZP treatment on social behavior of African elephants have been investigated, no examination of the influence of pZP vaccination on the endocrine correlates in treated females has been undertaken. In this study, ovarian activity of free-ranging, pZP-treated African elephant females was monitored noninvasively for 1 yr at Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, South Africa, by measuring fecal 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations via enzyme immunoassay. A total of 719 fecal samples from 19 individuals were collected over the study period, averaging 38 samples collected per individual (minimum, maximum: 16, 52). Simultaneously, behavioral observations were made to record the occurrence of estrous behavior for comparison. Each elephant under study showed 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations rising above baseline at some period during the study indicating luteal activity. Average 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations were 1.61 ± 0.46 μg/g (mean ± SD). Within sampled females, 42.9% exhibited estrous cycles within the range reported for captive African elephants, 14.3% had irregular cycles, and 42.9% did not appear to be cycling. Average estrous cycle duration was 14.72 ± 0.85 wk. Estrous behavior coincided with the onset of the luteal phase and a subsequent rise in 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations. Average 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on levels positively correlated with rainfall. No association between average individual 5α-pregnan-3β-ol-20-on concentrations or cyclicity status with age or parity were detected. Earlier determination of efficacy was established via fecal hormone analysis with no pregnancies determined 22 mo post

  13. The reproductive advantages of a long life: longevity and senescence in wild female African elephants.

    PubMed

    Lee, Phyllis C; Fishlock, Victoria; Webber, C Elizabeth; Moss, Cynthia J

    Long-lived species such as elephants, whales and primates exhibit extended post-fertile survival compared to species with shorter lifespans but data on age-related fecundity and survival are limited to few species or populations. We assess relationships between longevity, reproductive onset, reproductive rate and age for 834 longitudinally monitored wild female African elephants in Amboseli, Kenya. The mean known age at first reproduction was 13.8 years; only 5 % commenced reproduction by 10 years. Early reproducers (<12.5 years) had higher age-specific fertility rates than did females who commenced reproduction late (15+ years) with no differences in survival between these groups. Age-specific reproductive rates of females dying before 40 years were reduced by comparison to same-aged survivors, illustrating a mortality filter and reproductive advantages of a long life. Overall, 95 % of fertility was completed before 50, and 95 % of mortality experienced by age 65, with a mean life expectancy of 41 years for females who survived to the minimum age at first birth (9 years). Elephant females have a relatively long period (c. 16 years) of viability after 95 % completed fertility, although reproduction does not entirely cease until they are over 65. We found no evidence of increased investment among females aged over 40 in terms of delay to next birth or calf mortality. The presence of a mother reproducing simultaneously with her daughter was associated with higher rates of daughter reproduction suggesting advantages from maternal (and grandmaternal) co-residence during reproduction.

  14. Circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol secretion in female zoo-kept African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Casares, Miguel; Silván, Gema; Carbonell, Maria Dolores; Gerique, Cati; Martinez-Fernandez, Leticia; Cáceres, Sara; Illera, Juan Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Salivary samples were collected over a 24-hr period from one group of six juvenile (7-12 years) and one group of three adult (24-25 years) African elephant females, Loxodonta africana, and the cortisol concentration was measured in unextracted samples by EIA. Samples were collected during May, June, and November 2012 (n = 147) using cotton swabs at 4-hr intervals from 20:00 to 20:00 of the next day (seven samples per animal in each trial). The animals are kept under standard zoo management: the herd is maintained in their indoor enclosures until 10:00 and then released into the outdoor enclosures until 21:00-21:30 (May/June) and 18:30-19:00 (November). No adult elephant bull was present at the zoo during this time. The results demonstrate a clear diurnal pattern of cortisol secretion with the lowest concentration observed at 20:00 (2.03 ± 0.08 ng/ml saliva) and the peak concentrations at 08:00 (5.26 ± 0.35 ng/ml saliva). Although the cortisol values were higher in the adult cows compared to the juvenile cows in the May-June period, the differences were not significant. However, the values obtained in November from the juvenile group were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than the concentrations measured in this group in June. In conclusion, salivary cortisol in zoo elephants follows a circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) adapted to daily zoo husbandry routines.

  15. Structure and innervation of the tusk pulp in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, GE; Egerbacher, M; Forstenpointner, G

    2005-01-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use their tusks for digging, carrying and behavioural display. Their healing ability following traumatic injury is enormous. Pain experience caused by dentin or pulp damage of tusks seems to be negligible in elephants. In this study we examined the pulp tissue and the nerve distribution using histology, electron microscopy and immunhistochemistry. The results demonstrate that the pulp comprises two differently structured regions. Randomly orientated collagen fibres characterize a cone-like part lying rostral to the foramen apicis dentis. Numerous nerve fibres and Ruffini endings are found within this cone. Rostral to the cone, delicate collagen fibres and large vessels are orientated longitudinally. The rostral two-thirds of the pulp are highly vascularized, whereas nerve fibres are sparse. Vessel and nerve fibre distribution and the structure of connective tissue possibly play important roles in healing and in the obviously limited pain experience after tusk injuries and pulp alteration. The presence of Ruffini endings is most likely related to the use of tusks as tools. PMID:15817106

  16. GPS assessment of the use of exhibit space and resources by African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Leighty, Katherine A; Soltis, Joseph; Savage, Anne

    2010-01-01

    In public discussions of animal rights and welfare, we as members and proponents of zoological institutions often face significant challenges addressing the concerns of our detractors due to an unfortunate deficiency in systematically collected and published data on the animals in our collections. In the case of elephants, there has been a paucity of information describing their use of space within captive environments. Here, using collar-mounted GPS recording devices, we documented the use of exhibit space and resources by a herd of five adult female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) housed at Disney's Animal Kingdom((R)). We found that dominant animals within the herd used a greater percentage of the available space and subordinate females avoided narrow or enclosed regions of the enclosure that we termed "restricted flow areas." In their use of other resources, dominant females demonstrated increased occupation of the watering hole over subordinate females, but all females demonstrated relatively equivalent use of the mud wallow. Overall, our results provide preliminary evidence that position within the dominancy hierarchy impacts the percentage of space occupied in a captive setting and may contribute to resource accessibility. These findings can be applied to future decisions on exhibit design and resource distribution for this species.

  17. Acute death associated with Citrobacter freundii infection in an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Ortega, Joaquín; Corpa, Juan M; Orden, José A; Blanco, Jorge; Carbonell, María D; Gerique, Amalia C; Latimer, Erin; Hayward, Gary S; Roemmelt, Andreas; Kraemer, Thomas; Romey, Aurore; Kassimi, Labib B; Casares, Miguel

    2015-09-01

    A 21-year-old male African elephant (Loxodonta africana) died suddenly with no previous medical history. Grossly, there were severe multifocal epicardial and endocardial hemorrhages of the atria and ventricles, hydropericardium, multifocal pleural hemorrhages, and severe pulmonary congestion and edema. Histologically, there was fibrinoid vasculitis and thrombosis in the heart and lung and myocardial necrosis. Citrobacter freundii was isolated in abundance in pure culture from liver and heart samples. Low levels of multiples types of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV-6, EEHV-2B, and EEHV-3A) were detected in spleen samples, but not in heart samples. The levels of EEHV DNA found were much lower than those usually associated with acute EEHV hemorrhagic disease, and many other genomic loci that would normally be found in such cases were evidently below the level of detection. Therefore, these findings are unlikely to indicate lethal EEHV disease. Polymerase chain reaction for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and toxicology for oleander (Nerium oleander) were negative. Stress, resulting from recent transport, and antimicrobial therapy may have contributed to the death of this animal.

  18. Housing and Demographic Risk Factors Impacting Foot and Musculoskeletal Health in African Elephants [Loxodonta africana] and Asian Elephants [Elephas maximus] in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Miller, Michele A; Hogan, Jennifer N; Meehan, Cheryl L

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health.

  19. Housing and Demographic Risk Factors Impacting Foot and Musculoskeletal Health in African Elephants [Loxodonta africana] and Asian Elephants [Elephas maximus] in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Michele A.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Meehan, Cheryl L.

    2016-01-01

    For more than three decades, foot and musculoskeletal conditions have been documented among both Asian [Elephas maximus] and African [Loxodonta africana] elephants in zoos. Although environmental factors have been hypothesized to play a contributing role in the development of foot and musculoskeletal pathology, there is a paucity of evidence-based research assessing risk. We investigated the associations between foot and musculoskeletal health conditions with demographic characteristics, space, flooring, exercise, enrichment, and body condition for elephants housed in North American zoos during 2012. Clinical examinations and medical records were used to assess health indicators and provide scores to quantitate conditions. Using multivariable regression models, associations were found between foot health and age [P value = 0.076; Odds Ratio = 1.018], time spent on hard substrates [P value = 0.022; Odds Ratio = 1.014], space experienced during the night [P value = 0.041; Odds Ratio = 1.008], and percent of time spent in indoor/outdoor exhibits during the day [P value < 0.001; Odds Ratio = 1.003]. Similarly, the main risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders included time on hard substrate [P value = 0.002; Odds Ratio = 1.050] and space experienced in indoor/outdoor exhibits [P value = 0.039; Odds Ratio = 1.037]. These results suggest that facility and management changes that decrease time spent on hard substrates will improve elephant welfare through better foot and musculoskeletal health. PMID:27415763

  20. Species-specific loss of sexual dimorphism in vocal effectors accompanies vocal simplification in African clawed frogs (Xenopus)

    PubMed Central

    Leininger, Elizabeth C.; Kitayama, Ken; Kelley, Darcy B.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Phylogenetic studies can reveal patterns of evolutionary change, including the gain or loss of elaborate courtship traits in males. Male African clawed frogs generally produce complex and rapid courtship vocalizations, whereas female calls are simple and slow. In a few species, however, male vocalizations are also simple and slow, suggesting loss of male-typical traits. Here, we explore features of the male vocal organ that could contribute to loss in two species with simple, slow male calls. In Xenopus boumbaensis, laryngeal morphology is more robust in males than in females. Larynges are larger, have a more complex cartilaginous morphology and contain more muscle fibers. Laryngeal muscle fibers are exclusively fast-twitch in males but are both fast- and slow-twitch in females. The laryngeal electromyogram, a measure of neuromuscular synaptic strength, shows greater potentiation in males than in females. Male-specific physiological features are shared with X. laevis, as well as with a species of the sister clade, Silurana tropicalis, and thus are likely ancestral. In X. borealis, certain aspects of laryngeal morphology and physiology are sexually monomorphic rather than dimorphic. In both sexes, laryngeal muscle fibers are of mixed-twitch type, which limits the production of muscle contractions at rapid intervals. Muscle activity potentiation and discrete tension transients resemble female rather than male X. boumbaensis. The de-masculinization of these laryngeal features suggests an alteration in sensitivity to the gonadal hormones that are known to control the sexual differentiation of the larynx in other Xenopus and Silurana species. PMID:25788725

  1. Housing and Social Environments of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K.; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals’ experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001). Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001). Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001). There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05). The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes. PMID:27414034

  2. Housing and Social Environments of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Bonaparte-Saller, Mary K; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    We evaluated 255 African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants living in 68 North American zoos over one year to quantify housing and social variables. All parameters were quantified for the both the day and the night and comparisons were made across these time periods as well as by species and sex. To assess housing, we evaluated not only total exhibit size, but also individual animals' experiences based on the time they spent in the unique environments into which the exhibits were subdivided. Variables developed to assess housing included measurements of area as a function of time (Total Space Experience), environment type (Indoor, Outdoor, In/Out Choice) and time spent on hard and soft flooring. Over the year, Total Space Experience values ranged from 1,273 square feet to 169,692 square feet, with Day values significantly greater than Night values (p<0.001). Elephants spent an average of 55.1% of their time outdoors, 28.9% indoors, and 16% in areas with a choice between being in or out. Time spent on hard flooring substrate ranged from 0% to 66.7%, with Night values significantly greater than Day (p<0.001). Social factors included number of animals functionally housed together (Social Experience) and social group characteristics such as time spent with juveniles and in mixed-sex groups. Overall Social Experience scores ranged from 1 to 11.2 and were significantly greater during the Day than at Night (p<0.001). There were few significant social or housing differences between African (N = 138) and Asian (N = 117) species or between males (N = 54) and females (N = 201). The most notable exception was Total Space Experience, with African and male elephants having larger Total Space Experience than Asian and female elephants, respectively (P-value<0.05). The housing and social variables evaluated herein have been used in a series of subsequent epidemiological analyses relating to various elephant welfare outcomes.

  3. Social context influences the vocalizations of a home-raised African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus).

    PubMed

    Colbert-White, Erin N; Covington, Michael A; Fragaszy, Dorothy M

    2011-05-01

    Home-raised African Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) exhibit strong social bonding with their human companions. We examined how 1 parrot's vocal production (speech and nonword sounds) changed with social context with respect to descriptive measures of the vocalizations and their thematic content. We videotaped the parrot in 4 social conditions: subject home alone, subject and owner in the same room, owner in a separate room within hearing range, and owner and experimenter conversing in the same room as the parrot but ignoring her. Linguistic analysis revealed the parrot's repertoire consisted of 278 "units" ranging in length from 1 to 8 words or sounds. Rate of vocalization and vocabulary richness (i.e., the number of different units used) differed significantly, and many vocalizations were context-specific. For example, when her owner was in the room and willing to reciprocate communication, the parrot was more likely to use units that, in English, would be considered solicitations for vocal interaction (e.g., "Cosmo wanna talk"). When she and her owner were in separate rooms, the subject was significantly more likely to use units that referenced her spatial location and that of her owner (e.g., "Where are you"), suggesting she uses specific units as an adaptation of the wild parrot contact call. These results challenge the notion that parrots only imitate speech and raise interesting questions regarding the role of social interaction in learning and communicative competence in an avian species.

  4. Retrospective genetic characterisation of Encephalomyocarditis viruses from African elephant and swine recovers two distinct lineages in South Africa.

    PubMed

    van Sandwyk, James H D T; Bennett, Nigel C; Swanepoel, Robert; Bastos, Armanda D S

    2013-02-22

    Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) outbreaks are rare in southern Africa. Only two have been reported to date from South Africa, both coinciding with rodent irruptions. The first outbreak manifested as acute myocarditis in pigs in 1979, whilst the second, occurring from 1993 to 1994, was linked to the deaths of 64 free-ranging adult African elephants (Loxodonta africana). The P1 genome region, inclusive of the flanking leader (L) and 2A genes, of three South African isolates, one from swine and two from elephants, was characterised by PCR amplification and sequencing of up to 11 overlapping fragments. In addition to the resulting 3329 nucleotide dataset, the 3D region that is widely used in molecular epidemiology studies, was characterised, and three datasets (P1, VP1/3 and 3D), complemented with available homologous EMCV data, were compiled for analyses. Phylogenetic inferences revealed the near-identical elephant outbreak strains to be most closely related to a mengovirus from rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Uganda, differing from the latter by between 11% (3D) and 15% (VP3/1). The South African pig isolate differed by 4% (3D) and 11% (VP3/1) from available European and Asian pig virus sequences. This study confirms the presence of two genetically distinct EMCV lineages recovered from sporadic outbreaks in wild and domestic hosts in southern Africa, and provides valuable baseline data for future outbreak eventualities in the sub-region.

  5. Why Do African Elephants (Loxodonta africana) Simulate Oestrus? An Analysis of Longitudinal Data

    PubMed Central

    Bates, Lucy A.; Handford, Rosie; Lee, Phyllis C.; Njiraini, Norah; Poole, Joyce H.; Sayialel, Katito; Sayialel, Soila; Moss, Cynthia J.; Byrne, Richard W.

    2010-01-01

    Female African elephants signal oestrus via chemicals in their urine, but they also exhibit characteristic changes to their posture, gait and behaviour when sexually receptive. Free-ranging females visually signal receptivity by holding their heads and tails high, walking with an exaggerated gait, and displaying increased tactile behaviour towards males. Parous females occasionally exhibit these visual signals at times when they are thought not to be cycling and without attracting interest from musth males. Using demographic and behavioural records spanning a continuous 28-year period, we investigated the occurrence of this “simulated” oestrus behaviour. We show that parous females in the Amboseli elephant population do simulate receptive oestrus behaviours, and this false oestrus occurs disproportionately in the presence of naïve female kin who are observed coming into oestrus for the first time. We compare several alternative hypotheses for the occurrence of this simulation: 1) false oestrus has no functional purpose (e.g., it merely results from abnormal hormonal changes); 2) false oestrus increases the reproductive success of the simulating female, by inducing sexual receptivity; and 3) false oestrus increases the inclusive fitness of the simulating female, either by increasing the access of related females to suitable males, or by encouraging appropriate oestrus behaviours from female relatives who are not responding correctly to males. Although the observed data do not fully conform to the predictions of any of these hypotheses, we rule out the first two, and tentatively suggest that parous females most likely exhibit false oestrus behaviours in order to demonstrate to naïve relatives at whom to direct their behaviour. PMID:20383331

  6. Assessment of Body Condition in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos and Management Practices Associated with High Body Condition Scores

    PubMed Central

    Morfeld, Kari A.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Brown, Janine L.

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants. PMID:27415629

  7. Assessment of Body Condition in African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) Elephants in North American Zoos and Management Practices Associated with High Body Condition Scores.

    PubMed

    Morfeld, Kari A; Meehan, Cheryl L; Hogan, Jennifer N; Brown, Janine L

    2016-01-01

    Obesity has a negative effect on health and welfare of many species, and has been speculated to be a problem for zoo elephants. To address this concern, we assessed the body condition of 240 elephants housed in North American zoos based on a set of standardized photographs using a 5-point Body Condition Score index (1 = thinnest; 5 = fattest). A multi-variable regression analysis was then used to determine how demographic, management, housing, and social factors were associated with an elevated body condition score in 132 African (Loxodonta africana) and 108 Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants. The highest BCS of 5, suggestive of obesity, was observed in 34% of zoo elephants. In both species, the majority of elephants had elevated BCS, with 74% in the BCS 4 (40%) and 5 (34%) categories. Only 22% of elephants had BCS 3, and less than 5% of the population was assigned the lowest BCS categories (BCS 1 and 2). The strongest multi-variable model demonstrated that staff-directed walking exercise of 14 hours or more per week and highly unpredictable feeding schedules were associated with decreased risk of BCS 4 or 5, while increased diversity in feeding methods and being female was associated with increased risk of BCS 4 or 5. Our data suggest that high body condition is prevalent among North American zoo elephants, and management strategies that help prevent and mitigate obesity may lead to improvements in welfare of zoo elephants.

  8. Biogeography and molar morphology of Pleistocene African elephants: new evidence from Elandsfontein, Western Cape Province, South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Kathlyn M.; Stynder, Deano D.

    2015-05-01

    Elandsfontein (EFT) is a Middle Pleistocene archaeological/paleontological site located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The largest herbivore in the assemblage is Loxodonta atlantica zulu, an extinct member of the genus that includes modern African elephants. No Elephas recki specimens were recovered at EFT, despite their common occurrence in other regions of Africa at the same time. Because E. recki and L. atlantica molars are similar in appearance, but the two species are traditionally viewed as dominating different regions of Africa during the Pleistocene, isolated molars may on occasions have been assessed to species level on the basis of geography rather than morphology. The last morphologic evaluation of EFT elephants was conducted in the 1970s, and revisiting this issue with new specimens provides added insight into the evolution of elephants in Africa. Reevaluating morphological characteristics of EFT elephant molars, through qualitative and quantitative description and comparison with Middle Pleistocene E. recki recki, L. atlantica atlantica, and L. atlantica zulu molar morphology, corroborates assessment of EFT elephants as L. a. zulu. Two recently discovered, previously undescribed molars from EFT show that molars of L. a. zulu exhibit greater variation in enamel thickness, lamellar frequency, and occlusal surface morphology than previously reported. An update of the Pleistocene biogeography of Loxodonta and Elephas indicates that fossil remains of both are often found at the same localities in eastern Africa. Their rare co-occurrences in the north and south, however, suggest geographic separation of the two genera in at least some regions of Africa, which may have been based on habitat preference.

  9. African elephants adjust speed in response to surface-water constraint on foraging during the dry-season.

    PubMed

    Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Mtare, Godfrey; Makuwe, Edwin; Fritz, Hervé

    2013-01-01

    Most organisms need to acquire various resources to survive and reproduce. Individuals should adjust their behavior to make optimal use of the landscape and limit the costs of trade-offs emerging from the use of these resources. Here we study how African elephants Loxodonta africana travel to foraging places between regular visits to waterholes. Elephant herds were tracked using GPS collars during two consecutive dry seasons in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. We segmented each individual movement track at each visit to water to define foraging trips, and then used trip-level statistics to build an understanding of movement strategies. Travel speed within these individually-consistent movement bouts was also analyzed to understand if speed was better linked to distance to water or progression in the trip over time. We found that elephants went further from water when drinking less often, which could result from a trade-off between drinking and foraging in less depleted, far from water, places. Speed increased towards the beginning and the end of the trips, and was also greater than observed during the wet season, suggesting that elephants were trying to save time. Numerous short trips traveled at greater speed, particularly when commuting to a different waterhole, was tentatively explained by the inability to drink at specific waterholes due to intra-specific interference. Unexpectedly elephants did not always minimize travel time by drinking at the closest waterhole, but the extra distance traveled remained never more than a few kilometers. Our results show how individuals may adjust movement behavior to deal with resource trade-offs at the landscape scale. We also highlight how behavioral context, here progression in the trip, may be more important than spatial context, here distance to water, in explaining animal movement patterns.

  10. The influence of life history milestones and association networks on crop-raiding behavior in male African elephants.

    PubMed

    Chiyo, Patrick I; Moss, Cynthia J; Alberts, Susan C

    2012-01-01

    Factors that influence learning and the spread of behavior in wild animal populations are important for understanding species responses to changing environments and for species conservation. In populations of wildlife species that come into conflict with humans by raiding cultivated crops, simple models of exposure of individual animals to crops do not entirely explain the prevalence of crop raiding behavior. We investigated the influence of life history milestones using age and association patterns on the probability of being a crop raider among wild free ranging male African elephants; we focused on males because female elephants are not known to raid crops in our study population. We examined several features of an elephant association network; network density, community structure and association based on age similarity since they are known to influence the spread of behaviors in a population. We found that older males were more likely to be raiders than younger males, that males were more likely to be raiders when their closest associates were also raiders, and that males were more likely to be raiders when their second closest associates were raiders older than them. The male association network had sparse associations, a tendency for individuals similar in age and raiding status to associate, and a strong community structure. However, raiders were randomly distributed between communities. These features of the elephant association network may limit the spread of raiding behavior and likely determine the prevalence of raiding behavior in elephant populations. Our results suggest that social learning has a major influence on the acquisition of raiding behavior in younger males whereas life history factors are important drivers of raiding behavior in older males. Further, both life-history and network patterns may influence the acquisition and spread of complex behaviors in animal populations and provide insight on managing human-wildlife conflict.

  11. Ovulation, pregnancy, placentation and husbandry in the African elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    Allen, W.R

    2006-01-01

    The African elephant reproduces so efficiently in the wild that overpopulation is now a serious problem in some game parks in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. The female reaches puberty between 10 and 12 years of age in the wild and, when in captivity, shows oestrous cycles of 14–15 weeks duration. She readily conceives a singleton in the wild yet her uterus has the capacity for twins. She shows a gestation length of 22 months and, in the wild, shows a population density and feed dependent intercalving interval of 4–8 years. The trophoblast erodes the lumenal epithelium of the endometrium and stimulates upgrowths of blood vessel-containing stromal villi, which develop eventually into the broad, tightly folded lamellae of the zonary, endotheliochorial placenta. Significant quantities of leaked maternal erythrocytes and ferric iron are phagocytosed by specialized trophoblast cells in the haemophagous zones at the lateral edges of the placental band. Although the placenta itself is endocrinologically inert, the foetal gonads, which enlarge greatly during the second half of pregnancy can synthesize 5α-dihydryoprogesterone and other 5α pregnane derivatives from cholesterol and pregnenolone. These products may synergize with progestagens secreted by the 2–8 large corpora lutea which are always present in the maternal ovaries throughout gestation to maintain the pregnancy state. PMID:16627297

  12. Harvesting and chewing as constraints to forage consumption by the African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)

    PubMed Central

    O’Connor, Timothy G.

    2016-01-01

    As a foundation for understanding the diet of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana), adult bulls and cows were observed over an annual cycle to determine whether harvesting (Pt), chewing (Ct) and handling times (Ht) differed across food types and harvesting methods (handling time is defined as the time to harvest, chew and swallow a trunkload of food). Bulls and cows were observed 105 and 26 times, respectively (94 and 26 individuals), with a total of 64 h of feeding recorded across 32 vegetation types. Some food types took longer to harvest and chew than others, which may influence intake rate and affect choice of diet. The method used to gather a trunkload of food had a significant effect on harvesting time, with simple foraging actions being comparatively rapid and more difficult tasks taking longer. Handling time was constrained by chewing for bulls, except for the processing of roots from woody plants, which was limited by harvesting. Time to gather a trunkload had a greater influence on handling time for cows compared to bulls. Harvesting and handling times were longer for bulls than cows, with the sexes adopting foraging behaviors that best suited their energy requirements. PMID:27688971

  13. Enduring consequences of early experiences: 40 year effects on survival and success among African elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Lee, Phyllis C; Bussière, Luc F; Webber, C Elizabeth; Poole, Joyce H; Moss, Cynthia J

    2013-04-23

    Growth from conception to reproductive onset in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) provides insights into phenotypic plasticity, individual adaptive plastic responses and facultative maternal investment. Using growth for 867 and life histories for 2652 elephants over 40 years, we demonstrate that maternal inexperience plus drought in early life result in reduced growth rates for sons and higher mortality for both sexes. Slow growth during early lactation was associated with smaller adult size, later age at first reproduction, reduced lifetime survival and consequently limited reproductive output. These enduring effects of trading slow early growth against immediate survival were apparent over the very long term; delayed downstream consequences were unexpected for a species with a maximum longevity of 70+ years and unpredictable environmental experiences.

  14. Recurrence of hyperprolactinemia and continuation of ovarian acyclicity in captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) treated with cabergoline.

    PubMed

    Morfeld, Kari A; Ball, Ray L; Brown, Janine L

    2014-09-01

    Hyperprolactinemia is associated with reproductive acyclicity in zoo African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and may contribute to the non-self-sustainability of the captive population in North America. It is a common cause of infertility in women and other mammals and can be treated with the dopamine agonist cabergoline. The objectives of this study were to assess prolactin responses to cabergoline treatment in hyperprolactinemic, acyclic African elephants and to determine the subsequent impact on ovarian cyclic activity. Five elephants, diagnosed as hyperprolactinemic (>11 ng/ml prolactin) and acyclic (maintenance of baseline progestagens for at least 1 yr), were treated with 1-2 mg cabergoline orally twice weekly for 16-82 wk. Cabergoline reduced (P < 0.05) serum prolactin concentrations during the treatment period compared to pretreatment levels in four of five elephants (11.5 +/- 3.2 vs. 9.1 +/- 3.4 ng/ml; 20.3 +/- 16.7 vs. 7.9 +/- 9.8 ng/ml; 26.4 +/- 15.0 vs. 6.8 +/- 1.5 ng/ml; 42.2 +/- 22.6 vs. 18.6 +/- 8.9 ng/ml). However, none of the females resumed ovarian cyclicity based on serum progestagen analyses up to 1 yr posttreatment. In addition, within 1 to 6 wk after cessation of oral cabergoline, serum prolactin concentrations returned to concentrations that were as high as or higher than before treatment (P < 0.05). One elephant that exhibited the highest pretreatment prolactin concentration (75.2 +/- 10.5 ng/ml) did not respond to cabergoline and maintained elevated levels throughout the study. Thus, oral cabergoline administration reduced prolactin concentrations in elephants with hyperprolactinemia, but there was no resumption of ovarian cyclicity, and a significant prolactin rebound effect was observed. It is possible that higher doses or longer treatment intervals may be required for cabergoline treatment to result in permanent suppression of prolactin secretion and to mitigate associated ovarian cycle problems.

  15. Demography of woody species in a semi-arid African savanna reserve following the re-introduction of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connor, Timothy G.

    2017-01-01

    The hypothesis that African elephants may cause the local extirpation of selected woody species was evaluated in a medium-sized, semi-arid reserve following their reintroduction at low density. Mortality, state-change, and regeneration of 25 tree and 17 shrub species were studied between 1997 and 2010. Annual mortality of shrub species ranged from 0.2 to 8.0%, with six species experiencing 6-8%. Eight shrub species lost more than half their adult population (range 10-94%). Annual tree mortality ranged from 0.2 to 10.5%. The two dominant dryland tree species experienced <1% annual mortality, 18 species lost more than half their tree population, and one was eliminated. Elephants accounted for >63% and stress-related agents >20% of tree deaths. The manner in which elephants induced tree death depended on species. The proportion of individuals of a species killed by pollarding or uprooting ranged from 0 to 74%, and by debarking from 0 to 100%. Complete uprooting was a common cause of death for three shrub species. Regeneration ranged from zero for six tree and one shrub species to a seedling every 7 m2 for Colophospermum mopane and 23 m2 for Dichrostachys cinerea in riparian habitat. Three shrub and eight tree species were identified as vulnerable to local extirpation owing to a combination of high mortality and poor regeneration that is likely to result in a considerably simplified system. Reintroduction of elephants into medium-sized reserves without regulation of their numbers may not be a desirable action.

  16. The mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) compared with the brain of the extant African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Kharlamova, Anastasia S; Saveliev, Sergei V; Protopopov, Albert V; Maseko, Busisiwe C; Bhagwandin, Adhil; Manger, Paul R

    2015-11-01

    This study presents the results of an examination of the mummified brain of a pleistocene woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) recovered from the Yakutian permafrost in Siberia, Russia. This unique specimen (from 39,440-38,850 years BP) provides the rare opportunity to compare the brain morphology of this extinct species with a related extant species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). An anatomical description of the preserved brain of the woolly mammoth is provided, along with a series of quantitative analyses of various brain structures. These descriptions are based on visual inspection of the actual specimen as well as qualitative and quantitative comparison of computed tomography imaging data obtained for the woolly mammoth in comparison with magnetic resonance imaging data from three African elephant brains. In general, the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined, estimated to weigh between 4,230 and 4,340 g, showed the typical shape, size, and gross structures observed in extant elephants. Quantitative comparative analyses of various features of the brain, such as the amygdala, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and gyrnecephalic index, all indicate that the brain of the woolly mammoth specimen examined has many similarities with that of modern African elephants. The analysis provided here indicates that a specific brain type representative of the Elephantidae is likely to be a feature of this mammalian family. In addition, the extensive similarities between the woolly mammoth brain and the African elephant brain indicate that the specializations observed in the extant elephant brain are likely to have been present in the woolly mammoth.

  17. Characterization of a novel polyomavirus isolated from a fibroma on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Stevens, Hans; Bertelsen, Mads Frost; Sijmons, Steven; Van Ranst, Marc; Maes, Piet

    2013-01-01

    Viruses of the family Polyomaviridae infect a wide variety of avian and mammalian hosts with a broad spectrum of outcomes including asymptomatic infection, acute systemic disease, and tumor induction. In this study a novel polyomavirus, the African elephant polyomavirus 1 (AelPyV-1) found in a protruding hyperplastic fibrous lesion on the trunk of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was characterized. The AelPyV-1 genome is 5722 bp in size and is one of the largest polyomaviruses characterized to date. Analysis of the AelPyV-1 genome reveals five putative open-reading frames coding for the classic small and large T antigens in the early region, and the VP1, VP2 and VP3 capsid proteins in the late region. In the area preceding the VP2 start codon three putative open-reading frames, possibly coding for an agnoprotein, could be localized. A regulatory, non-coding region separates the 2 coding regions. Unique for polyomaviruses is the presence of a second 854 bp long non-coding region between the end of the early region and the end of the late region. Based on maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of the large T antigen of the AelPyV-1 and 61 other polyomavirus sequences, AelPyV-1 clusters within a heterogeneous group of polyomaviruses that have been isolated from bats, new world primates and rodents.

  18. Quantitative analysis of neocortical gyrencephaly in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and six species of cetaceans: comparison with other mammals.

    PubMed

    Manger, Paul R; Prowse, Michelle; Haagensen, Mark; Hemingway, Jason

    2012-08-01

    This study provides quantitative data on the extent of gyrencephaly in the large-brained African elephant and several species of cetaceans (from smaller to larger brained) in comparison with other mammals. Across three mammalian orders (primates, carnivores, and artiodactyls), the species with the larger brains are more gyrencephalic with each order, exhibiting a specific negative allometry. The African elephant, with a 5-kg brain, has a gyrencephalic index (GI) of 3.89, which, though highly gyrencephalic, is not more so than would be predicted for a mammal with a 5-kg brain. The cetaceans had an average GI of 5.43, are the most gyrencephalic mammals studied to date, and are more gyrencephalic than one would predict based on comparison with other mammals. No relationship between brain mass and GI was evident in the cetaceans as seen in other mammals, with all cetaceans showing similar GIs irrespective of brain mass (range of GI 5.23-5.70, range of brain mass 577-5617 g). This is yet another parameter indicating cetaceans to be neuroanatomical outliers. Two species of pinnipeds studied had GIs that were well above those seen for terrestrial carnivores, and the aquatic manatee was close to lissencephalic. Thus, all three groups of marine mammals showed unusual extents of cortical gyrencephaly, indicating a morphological alteration of the telencephalon associated with the return to the marine environment. The analysis suggests that cortical thickness and neuronal density are important factors in determining the extent of gyrencephaly across mammalian species.

  19. Vocal individuality cues in the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus): a source-filter theory approach

    PubMed Central

    Favaro, Livio; Gamba, Marco; Alfieri, Chiara; Pessani, Daniela; McElligott, Alan G.

    2015-01-01

    The African penguin is a nesting seabird endemic to southern Africa. In penguins of the genus Spheniscus vocalisations are important for social recognition. However, it is not clear which acoustic features of calls can encode individual identity information. We recorded contact calls and ecstatic display songs of 12 adult birds from a captive colony. For each vocalisation, we measured 31 spectral and temporal acoustic parameters related to both source and filter components of calls. For each parameter, we calculated the Potential of Individual Coding (PIC). The acoustic parameters showing PIC ≥ 1.1 were used to perform a stepwise cross-validated discriminant function analysis (DFA). The DFA correctly classified 66.1% of the contact calls and 62.5% of display songs to the correct individual. The DFA also resulted in the further selection of 10 acoustic features for contact calls and 9 for display songs that were important for vocal individuality. Our results suggest that studying the anatomical constraints that influence nesting penguin vocalisations from a source-filter perspective, can lead to a much better understanding of the acoustic cues of individuality contained in their calls. This approach could be further extended to study and understand vocal communication in other bird species. PMID:26602001

  20. Vocal individuality cues in the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus): a source-filter theory approach.

    PubMed

    Favaro, Livio; Gamba, Marco; Alfieri, Chiara; Pessani, Daniela; McElligott, Alan G

    2015-11-25

    The African penguin is a nesting seabird endemic to southern Africa. In penguins of the genus Spheniscus vocalisations are important for social recognition. However, it is not clear which acoustic features of calls can encode individual identity information. We recorded contact calls and ecstatic display songs of 12 adult birds from a captive colony. For each vocalisation, we measured 31 spectral and temporal acoustic parameters related to both source and filter components of calls. For each parameter, we calculated the Potential of Individual Coding (PIC). The acoustic parameters showing PIC ≥ 1.1 were used to perform a stepwise cross-validated discriminant function analysis (DFA). The DFA correctly classified 66.1% of the contact calls and 62.5% of display songs to the correct individual. The DFA also resulted in the further selection of 10 acoustic features for contact calls and 9 for display songs that were important for vocal individuality. Our results suggest that studying the anatomical constraints that influence nesting penguin vocalisations from a source-filter perspective, can lead to a much better understanding of the acoustic cues of individuality contained in their calls. This approach could be further extended to study and understand vocal communication in other bird species.

  1. Genetic evidence for two species of elephant in Africa.

    PubMed

    Roca, A L; Georgiadis, N; Pecon-Slattery, J; O'Brien, S J

    2001-08-24

    Elephants from the tropical forests of Africa are morphologically distinct from savannah or bush elephants. Dart-biopsy samples from 195 free-ranging African elephants in 21 populations were examined for DNA sequence variation in four nuclear genes (1732 base pairs). Phylogenetic distinctions between African forest elephant and savannah elephant populations corresponded to 58% of the difference in the same genes between elephant genera Loxodonta (African) and Elephas (Asian). Large genetic distance, multiple genetically fixed nucleotide site differences, morphological and habitat distinctions, and extremely limited hybridization of gene flow between forest and savannah elephants support the recognition and conservation management of two African species: Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis.

  2. Standing sedation in African elephants (Loxodonta africana) using detomidine-butorphanol combinations.

    PubMed

    Neiffer, Donald L; Miller, Michele A; Weber, Martha; Stetter, Mark; Fontenot, Deidre K; Robbins, P K; Pye, Geoffrey W

    2005-06-01

    Standing sedation was provided for 14 clinical procedures in three African elephants (Loxodonta africana) managed by combined protected and modified-protected contact and trained through operant conditioning. An initial hand-injection of detomidine hydrochloride and butorphanol tartrate at a ratio of 1:1 on a microg:microg basis was administered intramuscularly, with a dosage range of 50-70 mg (12.9-19.7 microg/kg) for each drug. The initial injection resulted in adequate sedation for initiation and completion of eight procedures, whereas supplemental doses were required for the remaining procedures. The dosage range for the supplemental injections of each drug was 4.0-7.3 microg/kg. Initial effect was noted within 3.0-25 min (mean = 11.6 min, SD +/- 5.9 min), with maximal effect occurring at 25-30 min for those procedures not requiring supplementation. In all but one procedure, this effect was maintained until the end of the procedure, which ranged from 47 to 98 min (mean = 74.7 min, SD +/- 18.8 min). No cardiac or respiratory depression was appreciated. Recovery after administration of reversal agents was rapid and complete, ranging from 2 to 20 min (mean = 9.0 min, SD +/- 7.0 min). On the basis of the authors' experience, recommended dosage ranges for reversal agents would be intravenous yohimbine (73.4-98.5 microg/kg), intravenous naltrexone (48.9-98.5 microg/kg), and intramuscular naltrexone (73.4-98.5 microg/kg). Approximately one-third to one-half of the total naltrexone dose should be administered intravenously. Mild adverse side effects limited to the gastrointestinal tract were observed in association with five procedures including abdominal distention with or without transient anorexia. Administration of reversal agents, encouraging exercise and water consumption, and administration of flunixin meglumine were helpful in the resolution of signs. In addition to gastrointestinal signs, slight ataxia was observed before initiation of surgical stimulation

  3. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Rossman, Zoë T.; Hart, Benjamin L.; Greco, Brian J.; Young, Debbie; Padfield, Clare; Weidner, Lisa; Gates, Jennifer; Hart, Lynette A.

    2017-01-01

    Yawning is a widely recognized behavior in mammalian species. One would expect that elephants yawn, although to our knowledge, no one has reported observations of yawning in any species of elephant. After confirming a behavioral pattern matching the criteria of yawning in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a zoological setting, this study was pursued with nine captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at a private reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa, the Knysna Elephant Park. Observations were made in June–September and in December. In the daytime, handlers managed seven of the elephants for guided interactions with visitors. At night, all elephants were maintained in a large enclosure with six having limited outdoor access. With infrared illumination, the elephants were continuously recorded by video cameras. During the nights, the elephants typically had 1–3 recumbent sleeping/resting bouts, each lasting 1–2 h. Yawning was a regular occurrence upon arousal from a recumbency, especially in the final recumbency of the night. Yawning was significantly more frequent in some elephants. Yawning was rare during the daytime and during periods of standing around in the enclosure at night. In six occurrences of likely contagious yawning, one elephant yawned upon seeing another elephant yawning upon arousal from a final recumbency; we recorded the sex and age category of the participants. The generality of yawning in both African and Asian elephants in other environments was documented in video recordings from 39 zoological facilities. In summary, the study provides evidence that yawning does occur in both African and Asian elephants, and in African elephants, yawning was particularly associated with arousal from nighttime recumbencies. PMID:28293560

  4. When Yawning Occurs in Elephants.

    PubMed

    Rossman, Zoë T; Hart, Benjamin L; Greco, Brian J; Young, Debbie; Padfield, Clare; Weidner, Lisa; Gates, Jennifer; Hart, Lynette A

    2017-01-01

    Yawning is a widely recognized behavior in mammalian species. One would expect that elephants yawn, although to our knowledge, no one has reported observations of yawning in any species of elephant. After confirming a behavioral pattern matching the criteria of yawning in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in a zoological setting, this study was pursued with nine captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) at a private reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa, the Knysna Elephant Park. Observations were made in June-September and in December. In the daytime, handlers managed seven of the elephants for guided interactions with visitors. At night, all elephants were maintained in a large enclosure with six having limited outdoor access. With infrared illumination, the elephants were continuously recorded by video cameras. During the nights, the elephants typically had 1-3 recumbent sleeping/resting bouts, each lasting 1-2 h. Yawning was a regular occurrence upon arousal from a recumbency, especially in the final recumbency of the night. Yawning was significantly more frequent in some elephants. Yawning was rare during the daytime and during periods of standing around in the enclosure at night. In six occurrences of likely contagious yawning, one elephant yawned upon seeing another elephant yawning upon arousal from a final recumbency; we recorded the sex and age category of the participants. The generality of yawning in both African and Asian elephants in other environments was documented in video recordings from 39 zoological facilities. In summary, the study provides evidence that yawning does occur in both African and Asian elephants, and in African elephants, yawning was particularly associated with arousal from nighttime recumbencies.

  5. Solitary Sound Play during Acquisition of English Vocalizations by an African Grey Parrot (Psittacus Erithacus): Possible Parallels with Children's Monologue Speech.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pepperberg, Irene M.; And Others

    1991-01-01

    Examines one component of an African Grey parrot's monologue behavior, private speech, while he was being taught new vocalizations. The data are discussed in terms of the possible functions of monologues during the parrot's acquisition of novel vocalizations. (85 references) (GLR)

  6. Elucidating the significance of spatial memory on movement decisions by African savannah elephants using state–space models

    PubMed Central

    Polansky, Leo; Kilian, Werner; Wittemyer, George

    2015-01-01

    Spatial memory facilitates resource acquisition where resources are patchy, but how it influences movement behaviour of wide-ranging species remains to be resolved. We examined African elephant spatial memory reflected in movement decisions regarding access to perennial waterholes. State–space models of movement data revealed a rapid, highly directional movement behaviour almost exclusively associated with visiting perennial water. Behavioural change point (BCP) analyses demonstrated that these goal-oriented movements were initiated on average 4.59 km, and up to 49.97 km, from the visited waterhole, with the closest waterhole accessed 90% of the time. Distances of decision points increased when switching to different waterholes, during the dry season, or for female groups relative to males, while selection of the closest waterhole decreased when switching. Overall, our analyses indicated detailed spatial knowledge over large scales, enabling elephants to minimize travel distance through highly directional movement when accessing water. We discuss the likely cognitive and socioecological mechanisms driving these spatially precise movements that are most consistent with our findings. By applying modern analytic techniques to high-resolution movement data, this study illustrates emerging approaches for studying how cognition structures animal movement behaviour in different ecological and social contexts. PMID:25808888

  7. Elucidating the significance of spatial memory on movement decisions by African savannah elephants using state-space models.

    PubMed

    Polansky, Leo; Kilian, Werner; Wittemyer, George

    2015-04-22

    Spatial memory facilitates resource acquisition where resources are patchy, but how it influences movement behaviour of wide-ranging species remains to be resolved. We examined African elephant spatial memory reflected in movement decisions regarding access to perennial waterholes. State-space models of movement data revealed a rapid, highly directional movement behaviour almost exclusively associated with visiting perennial water. Behavioural change point (BCP) analyses demonstrated that these goal-oriented movements were initiated on average 4.59 km, and up to 49.97 km, from the visited waterhole, with the closest waterhole accessed 90% of the time. Distances of decision points increased when switching to different waterholes, during the dry season, or for female groups relative to males, while selection of the closest waterhole decreased when switching. Overall, our analyses indicated detailed spatial knowledge over large scales, enabling elephants to minimize travel distance through highly directional movement when accessing water. We discuss the likely cognitive and socioecological mechanisms driving these spatially precise movements that are most consistent with our findings. By applying modern analytic techniques to high-resolution movement data, this study illustrates emerging approaches for studying how cognition structures animal movement behaviour in different ecological and social contexts.

  8. Modeling the Distribution of African Savanna Elephants in Kruger National Park: AN Application of Multi-Scale GLOBELAND30 Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, W.; Hays, B.; Fayrer-Hosken, R.; Presotto, A.

    2016-06-01

    The ability of remote sensing to represent ecologically relevant features at multiple spatial scales makes it a powerful tool for studying wildlife distributions. Species of varying sizes perceive and interact with their environment at differing scales; therefore, it is important to consider the role of spatial resolution of remotely sensed data in the creation of distribution models. The release of the Globeland30 land cover classification in 2014, with its 30 m resolution, presents the opportunity to do precisely that. We created a series of Maximum Entropy distribution models for African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) using Globeland30 data analyzed at varying resolutions. We compared these with similarly re-sampled models created from the European Space Agency's Global Land Cover Map (Globcover). These data, in combination with GIS layers of topography and distance to roads, human activity, and water, as well as elephant GPS collar data, were used with MaxEnt software to produce the final distribution models. The AUC (Area Under the Curve) scores indicated that the models created from 600 m data performed better than other spatial resolutions and that the Globeland30 models generally performed better than the Globcover models. Additionally, elevation and distance to rivers seemed to be the most important variables in our models. Our results demonstrate that Globeland30 is a valid alternative to the well-established Globcover for creating wildlife distribution models. It may even be superior for applications which require higher spatial resolution and less nuanced classifications.

  9. Highly Accurate Antibody Assays for Early and Rapid Detection of Tuberculosis in African and Asian Elephants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants is a re-emerging zoonotic disease caused primarily by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Current methods for screening and diagnosis rely on trunk wash culture, which has serious limitations due to low test sensitivity, slow turn-around time, and variable sample quality. Inn...

  10. Body temperature daily rhythm adaptations in African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Kinahan, A A; Inge-moller, R; Bateman, P W; Kotze, A; Scantlebury, M

    2007-11-23

    The savanna elephant is the largest extant mammal and often inhabits hot and arid environments. Due to their large size, it might be expected that elephants have particular physiological adaptations, such as adjustments to the rhythms of their core body temperature (T(b)) to deal with environmental challenges. This study describes for the first time the T(b) daily rhythms in savanna elephants. Our results showed that elephants had lower mean T(b) values (36.2 +/- 0.49 degrees C) than smaller ungulates inhabiting similar environments but did not have larger or smaller amplitudes of T(b) variation (0.40 +/- 0.12 degrees C), as would be predicted by their exposure to large fluctuations in ambient temperature or their large size. No difference was found between the daily T(b) rhythms measured under different conditions of water stress. Peak T(b)'s occurred late in the evening (22:10) which is generally later than in other large mammals ranging in similar environmental conditions.

  11. Fine-scale genetic structure and cryptic associations reveal evidence of kin-based sociality in the African forest elephant.

    PubMed

    Schuttler, Stephanie G; Philbrick, Jessica A; Jeffery, Kathryn J; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-01-01

    Spatial patterns of relatedness within animal populations are important in the evolution of mating and social systems, and have the potential to reveal information on species that are difficult to observe in the wild. This study examines the fine-scale genetic structure and connectivity of groups within African forest elephants, Loxodonta cyclotis, which are often difficult to observe due to forest habitat. We tested the hypothesis that genetic similarity will decline with increasing geographic distance, as we expect kin to be in closer proximity, using spatial autocorrelation analyses and Tau K(r) tests. Associations between individuals were investigated through a non-invasive genetic capture-recapture approach using network models, and were predicted to be more extensive than the small groups found in observational studies, similar to fission-fusion sociality found in African savanna (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) species. Dung samples were collected in Lopé National Park, Gabon in 2008 and 2010 and genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci, genetically sexed, and sequenced at the mitochondrial DNA control region. We conducted analyses on samples collected at three different temporal scales: a day, within six-day sampling sessions, and within each year. Spatial autocorrelation and Tau K(r) tests revealed genetic structure, but results were weak and inconsistent between sampling sessions. Positive spatial autocorrelation was found in distance classes of 0-5 km, and was strongest for the single day session. Despite weak genetic structure, individuals within groups were significantly more related to each other than to individuals between groups. Social networks revealed some components to have large, extensive groups of up to 22 individuals, and most groups were composed of individuals of the same matriline. Although fine-scale population genetic structure was weak, forest elephants are typically found in groups consisting of kin and based on matrilines

  12. Use of handheld X-ray fluorescence as a non-invasive method to distinguish between Asian and African elephant tusks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buddhachat, Kittisak; Thitaram, Chatchote; Brown, Janine L.; Klinhom, Sarisa; Bansiddhi, Pakkanut; Penchart, Kitichaya; Ouitavon, Kanita; Sriaksorn, Khanittha; Pa-in, Chalermpol; Kanchanasaka, Budsabong; Somgird, Chaleamchat; Nganvongpanit, Korakot

    2016-04-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field.

  13. Use of handheld X-ray fluorescence as a non-invasive method to distinguish between Asian and African elephant tusks

    PubMed Central

    Buddhachat, Kittisak; Thitaram, Chatchote; Brown, Janine L.; Klinhom, Sarisa; Bansiddhi, Pakkanut; Penchart, Kitichaya; Ouitavon, Kanita; Sriaksorn, Khanittha; Pa-in, Chalermpol; Kanchanasaka, Budsabong; Somgird, Chaleamchat; Nganvongpanit, Korakot

    2016-01-01

    We describe the use of handheld X-ray fluorescence, for elephant tusk species identification. Asian (n = 72) and African (n = 85) elephant tusks were scanned and we utilized the species differences in elemental composition to develop a functional model differentiating between species with high precision. Spatially, the majority of measured elements (n = 26) exhibited a homogeneous distribution in cross-section, but a more heterologous pattern in the longitudinal direction. Twenty-one of twenty four elements differed between Asian and African samples. Data were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis followed by a stepwise discriminant analysis, which identified elements for the functional equation. The best equation consisted of ratios of Si, S, Cl, Ti, Mn, Ag, Sb and W, with Zr as the denominator. Next, Bayesian binary regression model analysis was conducted to predict the probability that a tusk would be of African origin. A cut-off value was established to improve discrimination. This Bayesian hybrid classification model was then validated by scanning an additional 30 Asian and 41 African tusks, which showed high accuracy (94%) and precision (95%) rates. We conclude that handheld XRF is an accurate, non-invasive method to discriminate origin of elephant tusks provides rapid results applicable to use in the field. PMID:27097717

  14. A Novel Objective Method of Estimating the Age of Mandibles from African Elephants (Loxodonta africana Africana).

    PubMed

    Stansfield, Fiona J

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These 'Age Reference Lines' were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70-75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified.

  15. A Novel Objective Method of Estimating the Age of Mandibles from African Elephants (Loxodonta africana Africana)

    PubMed Central

    Stansfield, Fiona J.

    2015-01-01

    The importance of assigning an accurate estimate of age and sex to elephant carcasses found in the wild has increased in recent years with the escalation in levels of poaching throughout Africa. Irregularities identified in current ageing techniques prompted the development of a new method to describe molar progression throughout life. Elephant mandibles (n = 323) were studied and a point near the distal dental alveolus was identified as being most useful in ranking each jaw according to molar progression. These ‘Age Reference Lines’ were then associated with an age scale based on previous studies and Zimbabwean mandibles of known age. The new ranking produced a single age scale that proved useful for both male and female mandibles up to the maximum lifespan age of 70–75 years. Methods to aid in molar identification and the sexing of found jaws were also identified. PMID:25970428

  16. Where sociality and relatedness diverge: the genetic basis for hierarchical social organization in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B A; Rasmussen, Henrik B; Arctander, Peter; Nyakaana, Silvester; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Siegismund, Hans R

    2009-10-07

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission-fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related. The majority of third-tier members are matrilocal, carrying the same mtDNA control region haplotype, while matrilocality among fourth-tier groups was slightly less than expected at random. Comparison of results to those from a less disturbed population suggests that human depredation, leading to social disruption, altered the genetic underpinning of social relations in the study population. These results suggest that inclusive fitness benefits may crystallize elephant hierarchical social structuring along genetic lines when populations are undisturbed. However, indirect benefits are not critical to the formation and maintenance of second-, third- or fourth-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed.

  17. Where sociality and relatedness diverge: the genetic basis for hierarchical social organization in African elephants

    PubMed Central

    Wittemyer, George; Okello, John B. A.; Rasmussen, Henrik B.; Arctander, Peter; Nyakaana, Silvester; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Siegismund, Hans R.

    2009-01-01

    Hierarchical properties characterize elephant fission–fusion social organization whereby stable groups of individuals coalesce into higher order groups or split in a predictable manner. This hierarchical complexity is rare among animals and, as such, an examination of the factors driving its emergence offers unique insight into the evolution of social behaviour. Investigation of the genetic basis for such social affiliation demonstrates that while the majority of core social groups (second-tier affiliates) are significantly related, this is not exclusively the case. As such, direct benefits received through membership of these groups appear to be salient to their formation and maintenance. Further analysis revealed that the majority of groups in the two higher social echelons (third and fourth tiers) are typically not significantly related. The majority of third-tier members are matrilocal, carrying the same mtDNA control region haplotype, while matrilocality among fourth-tier groups was slightly less than expected at random. Comparison of results to those from a less disturbed population suggests that human depredation, leading to social disruption, altered the genetic underpinning of social relations in the study population. These results suggest that inclusive fitness benefits may crystallize elephant hierarchical social structuring along genetic lines when populations are undisturbed. However, indirect benefits are not critical to the formation and maintenance of second-, third- or fourth-tier level bonds, indicating the importance of direct benefits in the emergence of complex, hierarchical social relations among elephants. Future directions and conservation implications are discussed. PMID:19605399

  18. Non-destructive analysis of the two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale ivories by visible and short-wave near infrared spectroscopy and chemometrics.

    PubMed

    Shimoyama, Masahiko; Morimoto, Susumu; Ozaki, Yukihiro

    2004-06-01

    Visible (VIS) and short-wave near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was used for non-destructive analysis of ivories. VIS-SW-NIR (500-1000 nm) spectra were measured in situ for five kinds of ivories, that is two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale. Chemometrics analyses were carried out for the spectral data from 500 to 1000 nm region. The five kinds of ivories were clearly discriminated from each other on the scores plot of two principal components (PCs) obtained by principal component analysis (PCA). It was noteworthy that the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants were discriminated by the scores of PC 1. The loadings plot for PC 1 showed that the discrimination relies on the intensity changes in bands due to collagenous proteins and water interacting with proteins. It was found that the scores plot of PC 2 is useful to distinguish between the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants and the other ivories. We also developed a calibration model that predicted the specific gravity of five kinds of ivories from their VIS-SW-NIR spectral data using partial least squares (PLS)-1 regression. The correlation coefficient and root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) of this model were 0.960 and 0.037, respectively.

  19. Nonluteal estrous cycles of 3-week duration are initiated by anovulatory luteinizing hormone peaks in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Kapustin, N; Critser, J K; Olson, D; Malven, P V

    1996-11-01

    Previous attempts to characterize the estrous cycle of elephants have yielded conflicting estimates of cycle length and LH profiles. In order to establish artificial breeding programs in this species, resolution of these issues is needed. Therefore, four female African elephants housed at the Indianapolis Zoo were studied for approximately 6 mo beginning in December 1994. Blood was collected weekly, and the serum was immediately analyzed for progesterone (P4). Whenever the weekly concentration of P4 was found to be low, blood was collected one or four times per day. All serum samples were assayed for LH, and the daily samples were assayed for P4 and estradiol. Transient increases of serum LH (designated as peaks) were observed four times in each of the four females. Of these 16 LH peaks, 8 were classified as ovulatory LH (ovLH) peaks and 8 were classified as anovulatory LH (anLH) peaks. Peaks designated ovLH averaged 3.60 +/- 0.67 ng/ml (mean +/- SEM); serum P4 measured during these peaks began to increase 2-3 days before each ovLH peak and continued to increase for several weeks thereafter, reaching a peak of 675 +/- 35 pg/ml. The eight other LH peaks, designated anLH peaks, were of similar (p > 0.05) magnitude averaging 3.07 +/- 0.72 ng/ml, but the serum concentration of P4 remained very low (< 80 pg/ml) during and for several weeks after these peaks. Six peaks designated anLH occurred an average of 12.2 +/- 1.4 days after serum P4 had declined below 80 pg/ml. In each elephant, there was a regular sequence in which each ovLH peak was followed by a luteal-active period lasting about 60 days and then about 12 days later by one anLH peak. Each anLH peak was followed 19-22 days later by one ovLH peak, but serum P4 remained at nonluteal levels throughout this interval between peaks. The authors propose to designate this interval after the anLH peak and before the next ovLH peak as a nonluteal (i.e., low P4) estrous cycle of only 3-wk duration. Following each short

  20. Using genetic profiles of African forest elephants to infer population structure, movements, and habitat use in a conservation and development landscape in Gabon.

    PubMed

    Eggert, L S; Buij, R; Lee, M E; Campbell, P; Dallmeier, F; Fleischer, R C; Alonso, A; Maldonado, J E

    2014-02-01

    Conservation of wide-ranging species, such as the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), depends on fully protected areas and multiple-use areas (MUA) that provide habitat connectivity. In the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in Gabon, which includes 2 national parks separated by a MUA containing energy and forestry concessions, we studied forest elephants to evaluate the importance of the MUA to wide-ranging species. We extracted DNA from elephant dung samples and used genetic information to identify over 500 individuals in the MUA and the parks. We then examined patterns of nuclear microsatellites and mitochondrial control-region sequences to infer population structure, movement patterns, and habitat use by age and sex. Population structure was weak but significant, and differentiation was more pronounced during the wet season. Within the MUA, males were more strongly associated with open habitats, such as wetlands and savannas, than females during the dry season. Many of the movements detected within and between seasons involved the wetlands and bordering lagoons. Our results suggest that the MUA provides year-round habitat for some elephants and additional habitat for others whose primary range is in the parks. With the continuing loss of roadless wilderness areas in Central Africa, well-managed MUAs will likely be important to the conservation of wide-ranging species.

  1. Zoo visitor perceptions, attitudes, and conservation intent after viewing African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

    PubMed

    Hacker, Charlotte E; Miller, Lance J

    2016-07-01

    Elephants in the wild face several conservation issues. With the rebranding of zoos as conservation and education pioneers, they have the ability to both educate and inspire guests to action. The purpose of this research was to analyze visitor perceptions and attitudes toward elephant conservation and outcomes post-exhibit visit. A one-page survey was randomly administered to assess perceptions of elephant behavior, attitudes about elephant conservation, and intended conservation-related outcomes from September 2013 to January 2014. Principle component analysis identified three major components: concern for elephants in zoos, importance of elephants in the wild, and modification of nature. Visitors who scored highly on conservation intent were those with positive attitudes towards elephants in the wild and negative attitudes regarding the modification of nature. The greatest changes in conservation intent were a result of a self-reported up-close encounter and the ability to witness active behaviors. Providing guests with the opportunity to witness or experience such occurrences may aid in a more successful delivery of the zoo's conservation message. Further research into guest emotions and affective states in relation to viewing elephants in a zoological institution would provide greater insight into improving the guest experience and helping zoos meet their conservation mission. Zoo Biol. 35:355-361, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Combating the illegal trade in African elephant ivory with DNA forensics.

    PubMed

    Wasser, Samuel K; Joseph Clark, William; Drori, Ofir; Stephen Kisamo, Emily; Mailand, Celia; Mutayoba, Benezeth; Stephens, Matthew

    2008-08-01

    International wildlife crime is burgeoning in this climate of global trade. We contend that the most effective way to contain this illegal trade is to determine where the wildlife is being removed. This allows authorities to direct law enforcement to poaching hot spots, potentially stops trade before the wildlife is actually killed, prevents countries from denying their poaching problems at home, and thwarts trade before it enters into an increasingly complex web of international criminal activity. Forensic tools have been limited in their ability to determine product origin because the information they can provide typically begins only at the point of shipment. DNA assignment analyses can determine product origin, but its use has been limited by the inability to assign samples to locations where reference samples do not exist. We applied new DNA assignment methods that can determine the geographic origin(s) of wildlife products from anywhere within its range. We used these methods to examine the geographic origin(s) of 2 strings of seizures involving large volumes of elephant ivory, 1 string seized in Singapore and Malawi and the other in Hong Kong and Cameroon. These ivory traffickers may comprise 2 of the largest poaching rings in Africa. In both cases all ivory seized in the string had common origins, which indicates that crime syndicates are targeting specific populations for intense exploitation. This result contradicts the dominant belief that dealers are using a decentralized plan of procuring ivory stocks as they became available across Africa. Large quantities of ivory were then moved, in multiple shipments, through an intermediate country prior to shipment to Asia, as a risk-reduction strategy that distances the dealer from the poaching locale. These smuggling strategies could not have been detected by forensic information, which typically begins only at the shipping source.

  3. Rhythm generation, coordination, and initiation in the vocal pathways of male African clawed frogs.

    PubMed

    Yamaguchi, Ayako; Cavin Barnes, Jessica; Appleby, Todd

    2017-01-01

    Central pattern generators (CPGs) in the brain stem are considered to underlie vocalizations in many vertebrate species, but the detailed mechanisms underlying how motor rhythms are generated, coordinated, and initiated remain unclear. We addressed these issues using isolated brain preparations of Xenopus laevis from which fictive vocalizations can be elicited. Advertisement calls of male X. laevis that consist of fast and slow trills are generated by vocal CPGs contained in the brain stem. Brain stem central vocal pathways consist of a premotor nucleus [dorsal tegmental area of medulla (DTAM)] and a laryngeal motor nucleus [a homologue of nucleus ambiguus (n.IX-X)] with extensive reciprocal connections between the nuclei. In addition, DTAM receives descending inputs from the extended amygdala. We found that unilateral transection of the projections between DTAM and n.IX-X eliminated premotor fictive fast trill patterns but did not affect fictive slow trills, suggesting that the fast and slow trill CPGs are distinct; the slow trill CPG is contained in n.IX-X, and the fast trill CPG spans DTAM and n.IX-X. Midline transections that eliminated the anterior, posterior, or both commissures caused no change in the temporal structure of fictive calls, but bilateral synchrony was lost, indicating that the vocal CPGs are contained in the lateral halves of the brain stem and that the commissures synchronize the two oscillators. Furthermore, the elimination of the inputs from extended amygdala to DTAM, in addition to the anterior commissure, resulted in autonomous initiation of fictive fast but not slow trills by each hemibrain stem, indicating that the extended amygdala provides a bilateral signal to initiate fast trills.

  4. Low coverage sequencing of two Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) genomes

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background There are three species of elephant that exist, the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and two species of African elephant (Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis). The populations of all three species are dwindling, and are under threat due to factors, such as habitat destruction and ivory hunting. The species differ in many respects, including in their morphology and response to disease. The availability of elephant genome sequence data from all three elephant species will complement studies of behaviour, genetic diversity, evolution and disease resistance. Findings We present low-coverage Illumina sequence data from two Asian elephants, representing approximately 5X and 2.5X coverage respectively. Both raw and aligned data are available, using the African elephant (L. africana) genome as a reference. Conclusions The data presented here are an important addition to the available genetic and genomic information on Asian and African elephants. PMID:25053995

  5. Generalized perceptual linear prediction features for animal vocalization analysis.

    PubMed

    Clemins, Patrick J; Johnson, Michael T

    2006-07-01

    A new feature extraction model, generalized perceptual linear prediction (gPLP), is developed to calculate a set of perceptually relevant features for digital signal analysis of animal vocalizations. The gPLP model is a generalized adaptation of the perceptual linear prediction model, popular in human speech processing, which incorporates perceptual information such as frequency warping and equal loudness normalization into the feature extraction process. Since such perceptual information is available for a number of animal species, this new approach integrates that information into a generalized model to extract perceptually relevant features for a particular species. To illustrate, qualitative and quantitative comparisons are made between the species-specific model, generalized perceptual linear prediction (gPLP), and the original PLP model using a set of vocalizations collected from captive African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and wild beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). The models that incorporate perceptional information outperform the original human-based models in both visualization and classification tasks.

  6. The elephant knee joint: morphological and biomechanical considerations

    PubMed Central

    Weissengruber, G E; Fuss, F K; Egger, G; Stanek, G; Hittmair, K M; Forstenpointner, G

    2006-01-01

    Elephant limbs display unique morphological features which are related mainly to supporting the enormous body weight of the animal. In elephants, the knee joint plays important roles in weight bearing and locomotion, but anatomical data are sparse and lacking in functional analyses. In addition, the knee joint is affected frequently by arthrosis. Here we examined structures of the knee joint by means of standard anatomical techniques in eight African (Loxodonta africana) and three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Furthermore, we performed radiography in five African and two Asian elephants and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in one African elephant. Macerated bones of 11 individuals (four African, seven Asian elephants) were measured with a pair of callipers to give standardized measurements of the articular parts. In one Asian and three African elephants, kinematic and functional analyses were carried out using a digitizer and according to the helical axis concept. Some peculiarities of healthy and arthrotic knee joints of elephants were compared with human knees. In contrast to those of other quadruped mammals, the knee joint of elephants displays an extended resting position. The femorotibial joint of elephants shows a high grade of congruency and the menisci are extremely narrow and thin. The four-bar mechanism of the cruciate ligaments exists also in the elephant. The main motion of the knee joint is extension–flexion with a range of motion of 142°. In elephants, arthrotic alterations of the knee joint can lead to injury or loss of the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament. PMID:16420379

  7. Elephant natural history: a genomic perspective.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; Ishida, Yasuko; Brandt, Adam L; Benjamin, Neal R; Zhao, Kai; Georgiadis, Nicholas J

    2015-01-01

    We review DNA-based studies of elephants and recently extinct proboscideans. The evidence indicates that little or no nuclear gene flow occurs between African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), establishing that they comprise separate species. In all elephant species, males disperse, whereas females remain with their natal social group, leading to discordance in the phylogeography of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA patterns. Improvements in ancient DNA methods have permitted sequences to be generated from an increasing number of proboscidean fossils and have definitively established that the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the closest living relative of the extinct woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). DNA-based methods have been developed to determine the geographic provenance of confiscated ivory in an effort to aid the conservation of elephants.

  8. Elephants and Their Young: Science and Math Activities for Young Children. Teacher's Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Echols, Jean C.; Kopp, Jaine; Blinderman, Ellen

    This book contains a series of playful activities in which young children actively learn about the African elephant's body structure, family life, and social behavior. Children make model elephants out of paper and cardboard, then devise elephant puppets with sock trunks as well as create models of elephant's ears, trunks, tusks, make elephant…

  9. Genomic inferences from Afrotheria and the evolution of elephants.

    PubMed

    Roca, Alfred L; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2005-12-01

    Recent genetic studies have established that African forest and savanna elephants are distinct species with dissociated cytonuclear genomic patterns, and have identified Asian elephants from Borneo and Sumatra as conservation priorities. Representative of Afrotheria, a superordinal clade encompassing six eutherian orders, the African savanna elephant was among the first mammals chosen for whole-genome sequencing to provide a comparative understanding of the human genome. Elephants have large and complex brains and display advanced levels of social structure, communication, learning and intelligence. The elephant genome sequence might prove useful for comparative genomic studies of these advanced traits, which have appeared independently in only three mammalian orders: primates, cetaceans and proboscideans.

  10. Resource variability, aggregation and direct density dependence in an open context: the local regulation of an African elephant population.

    PubMed

    Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Fritz, Hervé; Valeix, Marion; Murindagomo, Felix; Clobert, Jean

    2008-01-01

    1. An emerging perspective in the study of density dependence is the importance of the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of resources. Although this is well understood in temperate ungulates, few studies have been conducted in tropical environments where both food and water are limiting resources. 2. We studied the regulation of one of the world's largest elephant populations in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The study period started in 1986 when the population was released from culling. Using census data we investigated changes in elephant abundance with respect to rainfall and density across the entire park and across waterholes. 3. The population more than doubled since culling stopped. The population increased continuously during the first 6 years, and then fluctuated widely at about 30,000 individuals. Immigration processes must have been involved in the increase of the population size. 4. Population growth rates were negatively related to previous population density by a convex relationship, and negatively related to the ratio of previous population density on annual rainfall by a linear relationship. However, only this latter model (i.e. assuming a fluctuating carrying capacity related to annual rainfall) produced realistic dynamics. Overall, population decreased during dry years when the elephant density was high. 5. During dry years there were fewer waterholes retaining water during the dry season and consequently elephant numbers at waterholes increased, while their aggregation level across waterholes decreased. On the long-run elephant numbers increased only at the less crowded waterholes. 6. We suggest that the interaction between population size and the available foraging range determined by the number of active waterholes during the dry season controls the park population. 7. Our results emphasize the need to understand how key-resource areas cause resource-based aggregation, which ultimately influences the strength of density dependence. More

  11. Elephant resource-use traditions.

    PubMed

    Fishlock, Victoria; Caldwell, Christine; Lee, Phyllis C

    2016-03-01

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) use unusual and restricted habitats such as swampy clearings, montane outcrops and dry rivers for a variety of social and ecological reasons. Within these habitats, elephants focus on very specific areas for resource exploitation, resulting in deep caves, large forest clearings and sand pits as well as long-established and highly demarcated routes for moving between resources. We review evidence for specific habitat exploitation in elephants and suggest that this represents socially learned cultural behaviour. Although elephants show high fidelity to precise locations over the very long term, these location preferences are explained neither by resource quality nor by accessibility. Acquiring techniques for exploiting specific resource sites requires observing conspecifics and practice and is evidence for social learning. Elephants possess sophisticated cognitive capacities used to track relationships and resources over their long lifespans, and they have an extended period of juvenile dependency as a result of the need to acquire this considerable social and ecological knowledge. Thus, elephant fidelity to particular sites results in traditional behaviour over generations, with the potential to weaken relationships between resource quality and site preferences. Illustrating the evidence for such powerful traditions in a species such as elephants contributes to understanding animal cognition in natural contexts.

  12. History of Animals using Isotope Records (HAIR): A 6-year dietary history of one family of African elephants

    PubMed Central

    Cerling, Thure E.; Wittemyer, George; Ehleringer, James R.; Remien, Christopher H.; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2009-01-01

    The dietary and movement history of individual animals can be studied using stable isotope records in animal tissues, providing insight into long-term ecological dynamics and a species niche. We provide a 6-year history of elephant diet by examining tail hair collected from 4 elephants in the same social family unit in northern Kenya. Sequential measurements of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope rations in hair provide a weekly record of diet and water resources. Carbon isotope ratios were well correlated with satellite-based measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the region occupied by the elephants as recorded by the global positioning system (GPS) movement record; the absolute amount of C4 grass consumption is well correlated with the maximum value of NDVI during individual wet seasons. Changes in hydrogen isotope ratios coincided very closely in time with seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and NDVI whereas diet shifts to relatively high proportions of grass lagged seasonal increases in NDVI by ≈2 weeks. The peak probability of conception in the population occurred ≈3 weeks after peak grazing. Spatial and temporal patterns of resource use show that the only period of pure browsing by the focal elephants was located in an over-grazed, communally managed region outside the protected area. The ability to extract time-specific longitudinal records on animal diets, and therefore the ecological history of an organism and its environment, provides an avenue for understanding the impact of climate dynamics and land-use change on animal foraging behavior and habitat relations. PMID:19365077

  13. Effective population size dynamics reveal impacts of historic climatic events and recent anthropogenic pressure in African elephants.

    PubMed

    Okello, J B A; Wittemyer, G; Rasmussen, H B; Arctander, P; Nyakaana, S; Douglas-Hamilton, I; Siegismund, H R

    2008-09-01

    Two hundred years of elephant hunting for ivory, peaking in 1970-1980s, caused local extirpations and massive population declines across Africa. The resulting genetic impacts on surviving populations have not been studied, despite the importance of understanding the evolutionary repercussions of such human-mediated events on this keystone species. Using Bayesian coalescent-based genetic methods to evaluate time-specific changes in effective population size, we analysed genetic variation in 20 highly polymorphic microsatellite loci from 400 elephants inhabiting the greater Samburu-Laikipia region of northern Kenya. This area experienced a decline of between 80% and 90% in the last few decades when ivory harvesting was rampant. The most significant change in effective population size, however, occurred approximately 2500 years ago during a mid-Holocene period of climatic drying in tropical Africa. Contrary to expectations, detailed analyses of four contemporary age-based cohorts showed that the peak poaching epidemic in the 1970s caused detectable temporary genetic impacts, with genetic diversity rebounding as juveniles surviving the poaching era became reproductively mature. This study demonstrates the importance of climatic history in shaping the distribution and genetic history of a keystone species and highlights the utility of coalescent-based demographic approaches in unravelling ancestral demographic events despite a lack of ancient samples. Unique insights into the genetic signature of mid-Holocene climatic change in Africa and effects of recent poaching pressure on elephants are discussed.

  14. Does diet influence salivary enzyme activities in elephant species?

    PubMed

    Boehlke, Carolin; Pötschke, Sandra; Behringer, Verena; Hannig, Christian; Zierau, Oliver

    2017-01-01

    Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are herbivore generalists; however, Asian elephants might ingest a higher proportion of grasses than Africans. Although some studies have investigated nutrition-specific morphological adaptations of the two species, broader studies on salivary enzymes in both elephant species are lacking. This study focuses on the comparison of salivary enzymes activity profiles in the two elephant species; these enzymes are relevant for protective and digestive functions in humans. We aimed to determine whether salivary amylase (sAA), lysozyme (sLYS), and peroxidase (sPOD) activities have changed in a species-specific pattern during evolutionary separation of the elephant genera. Saliva samples of 14 Asian and eight African elephants were collected in three German zoos. Results show that sAA and sLYS are salivary components of both elephant species in an active conformation. In contrast, little to no sPOD activity was determined in any elephant sample. Furthermore, sAA activity was significantly higher in Asian compared with African elephants. sLYS and sPOD showed no species-specific differences. The time of food provision until sample collection affected only sAA activity. In summary, the results suggest several possible factors modulating the activity of the mammal-typical enzymes, such as sAA, sLYS, and sPOD, e.g., nutrition and sampling procedure, which have to be considered when analyzing differences in saliva composition of animal species.

  15. Generalized perceptual features for animal vocalization classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clemins, Patrick J.; Johnson, Michael T.

    2004-05-01

    Two sets of generalized, perceptual-based features are investigated for use in classifying animal vocalizations. Since many species, especially mammals, share similar physical sound perception mechanisms which vary in size, two features sets commonly used in human speech processing, mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) and perceptual linear prediction (PLP) analysis, are modified for use in other species. One modification made to the feature extraction process is incorporating the frequency range of hearing and length of the basilar membrane of the animal in order to correctly determine the width and location of the critical band filters used for signal processing. Experimentally determined critical bands (equivalent rectangular bandwidth) and equal loudness curves (audiograms) can also be incorporated directly into the feature extraction process. Experiments are performed on African elephant (Loxodonta africana) vocalizations using a hidden Markov model (HMM) based classifier showing increased classification accuracy when using features sets based on the specific animals perceptual abilities compared to the original human perception-based feature sets.

  16. Forest elephant crisis in the Congo Basin.

    PubMed

    Blake, Stephen; Strindberg, Samantha; Boudjan, Patrick; Makombo, Calixte; Bila-Isia, Inogwabini; Ilambu, Omari; Grossmann, Falk; Bene-Bene, Lambert; de Semboli, Bruno; Mbenzo, Valentin; S'hwa, Dino; Bayogo, Rosine; Williamson, Liz; Fay, Mike; Hart, John; Maisels, Fiona

    2007-04-01

    Debate over repealing the ivory trade ban dominates conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Resolving this controversy requires accurate estimates of elephant population trends and rates of illegal killing. Most African savannah elephant populations are well known; however, the status of forest elephants, perhaps a distinct species, in the vast Congo Basin is unclear. We assessed population status and incidence of poaching from line-transect and reconnaissance surveys conducted on foot in sites throughout the Congo Basin. Results indicate that the abundance and range of forest elephants are threatened from poaching that is most intense close to roads. The probability of elephant presence increased with distance to roads, whereas that of human signs declined. At all distances from roads, the probability of elephant occurrence was always higher inside, compared to outside, protected areas, whereas that of humans was always lower. Inside protected areas, forest elephant density was correlated with the size of remote forest core, but not with size of protected area. Forest elephants must be prioritised in elephant management planning at the continental scale.

  17. An Asian Elephant Imitates Human Speech

    PubMed Central

    Stoeger, Angela S.; Mietchen, Daniel; Oh, Sukhun; de Silva, Shermin; Herbst, Christian T.; Kwon, Soowhan; Fitch, W. Tecumseh

    2012-01-01

    Summary Vocal imitation has convergently evolved in many species, allowing learning and cultural transmission of complex, conspecific sounds, as in birdsong [1, 2]. Scattered instances also exist of vocal imitation across species, including mockingbirds imitating other species or parrots and mynahs producing human speech [3, 4]. Here, we document a male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) that imitates human speech, matching Korean formants and fundamental frequency in such detail that Korean native speakers can readily understand and transcribe the imitations. To create these very accurate imitations of speech formant frequencies, this elephant (named Koshik) places his trunk inside his mouth, modulating the shape of the vocal tract during controlled phonation. This represents a wholly novel method of vocal production and formant control in this or any other species. One hypothesized role for vocal imitation is to facilitate vocal recognition by heightening the similarity between related or socially affiliated individuals [1, 2]. The social circumstances under which Koshik’s speech imitations developed suggest that one function of vocal learning might be to cement social bonds and, in unusual cases, social bonds across species. PMID:23122846

  18. Genomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Reich, David; Mallick, Swapan; Meyer, Matthias; Green, Richard E; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L; Hofreiter, Michael

    2010-12-21

    To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.

  19. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals

    PubMed Central

    Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-01-01

    Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect odors in the environment, and OR genes constitute the largest multigene family in mammals. Numbers of OR genes vary greatly among species—reflecting the respective species' lifestyles—and this variation is caused by frequent gene gains and losses during evolution. However, whether the extent of gene gains/losses varies among individual gene lineages and what might generate such variation is unknown. To answer these questions, we used a newly developed phylogeny-based method to classify >10,000 intact OR genes from 13 placental mammal species into 781 orthologous gene groups (OGGs); we then compared the OGGs. Interestingly, African elephants had a surprisingly large repertoire (∼2000) of functional OR genes encoded in enlarged gene clusters. Additionally, OR gene lineages that experienced more gene duplication had weaker purifying selection, and Class II OR genes have evolved more dynamically than those in Class I. Some OGGs were highly expanded in a lineage-specific manner, while only three OGGs showed complete one-to-one orthology among the 13 species without any gene gains/losses. These three OGGs also exhibited highly conserved amino acid sequences; therefore, ORs in these OGGs may have physiologically important functions common to every placental mammal. This study provides a basis for inferring OR functions from evolutionary trajectory. PMID:25053675

  20. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Niimura, Yoshihito; Matsui, Atsushi; Touhara, Kazushige

    2014-09-01

    Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect odors in the environment, and OR genes constitute the largest multigene family in mammals. Numbers of OR genes vary greatly among species--reflecting the respective species' lifestyles--and this variation is caused by frequent gene gains and losses during evolution. However, whether the extent of gene gains/losses varies among individual gene lineages and what might generate such variation is unknown. To answer these questions, we used a newly developed phylogeny-based method to classify >10,000 intact OR genes from 13 placental mammal species into 781 orthologous gene groups (OGGs); we then compared the OGGs. Interestingly, African elephants had a surprisingly large repertoire (∼ 2000) of functional OR genes encoded in enlarged gene clusters. Additionally, OR gene lineages that experienced more gene duplication had weaker purifying selection, and Class II OR genes have evolved more dynamically than those in Class I. Some OGGs were highly expanded in a lineage-specific manner, while only three OGGs showed complete one-to-one orthology among the 13 species without any gene gains/losses. These three OGGs also exhibited highly conserved amino acid sequences; therefore, ORs in these OGGs may have physiologically important functions common to every placental mammal. This study provides a basis for inferring OR functions from evolutionary trajectory.

  1. Expression of human cell cycle regulators in the primary cell line of the African savannah elephant (loxodonta africana) increases proliferation until senescence, but does not induce immortalization.

    PubMed

    Fukuda, Tomokazu; Iino, Yuuka; Onuma, Manabu; Gen, Bando; Inoue-Murayama, Miho; Kiyono, Tohru

    2016-01-01

    The African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) is one of the critically endangered animals. Conservation of genetic and cellular resources is important for the promotion of wild life-related research. Although primary cultured cells are a useful model for the physiology and genomics of the wild-type animals, their distribution is restricted due to the limited number of cell divisions allowed in them. Here, we tried to immortalize a primary cell line of L. africana with by overexpressing human mutant form of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4R24C), cyclin D, and telomerase (TERT). It has been shown before that the combination of human CDK4R24C, cyclin D, and TERT induces the efficient cellular immortalization of cells derived from humans, bovine, swine, and monkeys. Interestingly, although the combination of these three genes extended the cellular proliferation of the L. africana-derived cells, they did not induce cellular immortalization. This study suggest that control of cellular senescence in L. africana-derived cells would be different molecular mechanisms compared to those governing human, bovine, swine, and monkey cells.

  2. Structure and presumptive function of the iridocorneal angle of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), and African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    Hatfield, Jessie R; Samuelson, Don A; Lewis, Patricia A; Chisholm, Mae

    2003-03-01

    The iridocorneal angles of prepared eyes from the West Indian manatee, short-finned pilot whale, hippopotamus and African elephant were examined and compared using light microscopy. The manatee and pilot whale demonstrated capacity for a large amount of aqueous outflow, probably as part of a system compensating for lack of ciliary musculature, and possibly also related to environmental changes associated with life at varying depths. The elephant angle displayed many characteristics of large herbivores, but was found to have relatively low capacity for aqueous outflow via both primary and secondary routes. The hippopotamus shared characteristics with both land- and water-dwelling mammals; uveoscleral aqueous outflow may be substantial as in the marine mammals, but the angular aqueous plexus was less extensive and a robust pectinate ligament was present. The angles varied greatly in size and composition among the four species, and most structures were found to be uniquely suited to the habitat of each animal.

  3. Functional CD1d and/or NKT cell invariant chain transcript in horse, pig, African elephant and guinea pig, but not in ruminants

    PubMed Central

    Looringh van Beeck, Frank A.; Reinink, Peter; Hermsen, Roel; Zajonc, Dirk M.; Laven, Marielle J.; Fun, Axel; Troskie, Milana; Schoemaker, Nico J.; Morar, Darshana; Lenstra, Johannes A.; Vervelde, Lonneke; Rutten, Victor P.M.G.; van Eden, Willem; Van Rhijn, Ildiko

    2009-01-01

    CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T cells (NKT cells) have been well characterized in humans and mice, but it is unknown whether they are present in other species. Here we describe the invariant TCR α chain and the full length CD1d transcript of pig and horse. Molecular modeling predicts that porcine (po) invariant TCR α chain/poCD1d/α-GalCer and equine (eq) invariant TCR α chain/eqCD1d/α-GalCer form complexes that are highly homologous to the human complex. Since a prerequisite for the presence of NKT cells is the expression of CD1d protein, we performed searches for CD1D genes and CD1d transcripts in multiple species. Previously, cattle and guinea pig have been suggested to lack CD1D genes. The CD1D genes of European taurine cattle (Bos taurus) are known to be pseudogenes because of disrupting mutations in the start codon and in the donor splice site of the first intron. Here we show that the same mutations are found in six other ruminants: African buffalo, sheep, bushbuck, bongo, N’Dama cattle, and roe deer. In contrast, intact CD1d transcripts were found in guinea pig, African elephant, horse, rabbit, and pig. Despite the discovery of a highly homologous NKT/CD1d system in pig and horse, our data suggest that functional CD1D and CD1d-restricted NKT cells are not universally present in mammals. PMID:19185921

  4. The consequences of poaching and anthropogenic change for forest elephants.

    PubMed

    Breuer, Thomas; Maisels, Fiona; Fishlock, Vicki

    2016-10-01

    Poaching has devastated forest elephant populations (Loxodonta cyclotis), and their habitat is dramatically changing. The long-term effects of poaching and other anthropogenic threats have been well studied in savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana), but the impacts of these changes for Central Africa's forest elephants have not been discussed. We examined potential repercussions of these threats and the related consequences for forest elephants in Central Africa by summarizing the lessons learned from savannah elephants and small forest elephant populations in West Africa. Forest elephant social organization is less known than the social organization of savannah elephants, but the close evolutionary history of these species suggests that they will respond to anthropogenic threats in broadly similar ways. The loss of older, experienced individuals in an elephant population disrupts ecological, social, and population parameters. Severe reduction of elephant abundance within Central Africa's forests can alter plant communities and ecosystem functions. Poaching, habitat alterations, and human population increase are probably compressing forest elephants into protected areas and increasing human-elephant conflict, which negatively affects their conservation. We encourage conservationists to look beyond documenting forest elephant population decline and address the causes of these declines when developing conversation strategies. We suggest assessing the effectiveness of the existing protected-area networks for landscape connectivity in light of current industrial and infrastructure development. Longitudinal assessments of the effects of landscape changes on forest elephant sociality and behavior are also needed. Finally, lessons learned from West African elephant population loss and habitat fragmentation should be used to inform strategies for land-use planning and managing human-elephant interactions.

  5. Minimum cost of transport in Asian elephants: do we really need a bigger elephant?

    PubMed

    Langman, Vaughan A; Rowe, Michael F; Roberts, Thomas J; Langman, Nathanial V; Taylor, Charles R

    2012-05-01

    Body mass is the primary determinant of an animal's energy requirements. At their optimum walking speed, large animals have lower mass-specific energy requirements for locomotion than small ones. In animals ranging in size from 0.8 g (roach) to 260 kg (zebu steer), the minimum cost of transport (COT(min)) decreases with increasing body size roughly as COT(min)∝body mass (M(b))(-0.316±0.023) (95% CI). Typically, the variation of COT(min) with body mass is weaker at the intraspecific level as a result of physiological and geometric similarity within closely related species. The interspecific relationship estimates that an adult elephant, with twice the body mass of a mid-sized elephant, should be able to move its body approximately 23% cheaper than the smaller elephant. We sought to determine whether adult Asian and sub-adult African elephants follow a single quasi-intraspecific relationship, and extend the interspecific relationship between COT(min) and body mass to 12-fold larger animals. Physiological and possibly geometric similarity between adult Asian elephants and sub-adult African elephants caused body mass to have a no effect on COT(min) (COT(min)∝M(b)(0.007±0.455)). The COT(min) in elephants occurred at walking speeds between 1.3 and ∼1.5 m s(-1), and at Froude numbers between 0.10 and 0.24. The addition of adult Asian elephants to the interspecific relationship resulted in COT(min)∝M (-0.277±0.046)(b). The quasi-intraspecific relationship between body mass and COT(min) among elephants caused the interspecific relationship to underestimate COT(min) in larger elephants.

  6. How Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Gabon.

    PubMed

    Ngama, Steeve; Korte, Lisa; Bindelle, Jérôme; Vermeulen, Cédric; Poulsen, John R

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become "problem animals". To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level.

  7. How Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Gabon

    PubMed Central

    Ngama, Steeve; Korte, Lisa; Bindelle, Jérôme; Vermeulen, Cédric; Poulsen, John R.

    2016-01-01

    In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become “problem animals”. To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level. PMID:27196059

  8. Nonfatal clinical presentation of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus discovered in a group of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Schaftenaar, W; Reid, C; Martina, B; Fickel, J; Osterhaus, A D M E

    2010-12-01

    Several different strains of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus-1 (EEHV-1) have been identified via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques in both African and Asian elephants. EEHV-1 has been identified in both cutaneous lesions in healthy African elephants and fatal cases of hemorrhagic syndrome in Asian elephants. However, until now, no EEHV-1 strain has been identified or associated with otherwise healthy Asian elephants. This article describes recurrent nonendothelial lesions associated with EEHV-1 infection in a herd of Asian elephants not exhibiting fatal hemorrhagic syndrome. Genotypes of EEHV-1 strains, based on viral DNA polymerase and glycoprotein B, associated with fatal hemorrhagic syndrome, were compared to those identified in nonendothelial lesions. The same EEHV-1 genotypes were identified in fatal cases and mucosal lesions in otherwise healthy Asian elephants in this herd. Further studies of the Asian elephant immune system and virologic studies to determine the triggers of tissue tropism are needed before any conclusion can be reached. Elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus, EEHV, herpetic lesions, tropism.

  9. Foetal age determination and development in elephants

    PubMed Central

    Hildebrandt, Thomas; Drews, Barbara; Gaeth, Ann P; Goeritz, Frank; Hermes, Robert; Schmitt, Dennis; Gray, Charlie; Rich, Peter; Streich, Wolf Juergen; Short, Roger V; Renfree, Marilyn B

    2006-01-01

    Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all mammals, with an average gestation of around 660 days, so their embryonic and foetal development have always been of special interest. Hitherto, it has only been possible to estimate foetal ages from theoretical calculations based on foetal mass. The recent development of sophisticated ultrasound procedures for elephants has now made it possible to monitor the growth and development of foetuses of known gestational age conceived in captivity from natural matings or artificial insemination. We have studied the early stages of pregnancy in 10 captive Asian and 9 African elephants by transrectal ultrasound. Measurements of foetal crown–rump lengths have provided the first accurate growth curves, which differ significantly from the previous theoretical estimates based on the cube root of foetal mass. We have used these to age 22 African elephant foetuses collected during culling operations. Pregnancy can be first recognized ultrasonographically by day 50, the presumptive yolk sac by about day 75 and the zonary placenta by about day 85. The trunk is first recognizable by days 85–90 and is distinct by day 104, while the first heartbeats are evident from around day 80. By combining ultrasonography and morphology, we have been able to produce the first reliable criteria for estimating gestational age and ontological development of Asian and African elephant foetuses during the first third of gestation. PMID:17164195

  10. Elephants can determine ethnicity, gender, and age from acoustic cues in human voices

    PubMed Central

    McComb, Karen; Shannon, Graeme; Sayialel, Katito N.; Moss, Cynthia

    2014-01-01

    Animals can accrue direct fitness benefits by accurately classifying predatory threat according to the species of predator and the magnitude of risk associated with an encounter. Human predators present a particularly interesting cognitive challenge, as it is typically the case that different human subgroups pose radically different levels of danger to animals living around them. Although a number of prey species have proved able to discriminate between certain human categories on the basis of visual and olfactory cues, vocalizations potentially provide a much richer source of information. We now use controlled playback experiments to investigate whether family groups of free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Amboseli National Park, Kenya can use acoustic characteristics of speech to make functionally relevant distinctions between human subcategories differing not only in ethnicity but also in sex and age. Our results demonstrate that elephants can reliably discriminate between two different ethnic groups that differ in the level of threat they represent, significantly increasing their probability of defensive bunching and investigative smelling following playbacks of Maasai voices. Moreover, these responses were specific to the sex and age of Maasai presented, with the voices of Maasai women and boys, subcategories that would generally pose little threat, significantly less likely to produce these behavioral responses. Considering the long history and often pervasive predatory threat associated with humans across the globe, it is likely that abilities to precisely identify dangerous subcategories of humans on the basis of subtle voice characteristics could have been selected for in other cognitively advanced animal species. PMID:24616492

  11. Using morphometric and analytical techniques to characterize elephant ivory.

    PubMed

    Singh, Rina Rani; Goyal, Surendra Prakash; Khanna, Param Pal; Mukherjee, Pulok Kumar; Sukumar, Raman

    2006-10-16

    There is a need to characterize Asian elephant ivory and compare with African ivory for controlling illegal trade and implementation of national and international laws. In this paper, we characterize ivory of Asian and African elephants using Schreger angle measurements, elemental analysis {X-ray fluorescence (XRF), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS)} and isotopic analysis. We recorded Schreger angle characteristics of elephant ivory at three different zones in ivory samples of African (n=12) and Asian (n=28) elephants. The Schreger angle ranged from 32 degrees to 145 degrees and 30 degrees to 153 degrees in Asian and African ivory, respectively. Elemental analysis (for Asian and African ivory) by XRF, ICP-AES and ICP-MS provided preliminary data. We attempted to ascertain source of origin of Asian elephant ivory similarly as in African ivory based on isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and strontium. We determined isotopic ratios of carbon (n=31) and nitrogen (n=31) corresponding to diet and rainfall, respectively. Reference ivory samples from five areas within India were analyzed using collagen and powder sample and the latter was found more suitable for forensic analysis. During our preliminary analysis, the range of delta13C values (-13.6+/-0.15 per thousand and -25.6+/-0.15 per thousand) and delta15N values (10.2+/-0.15 per thousand and 3.5+/-0.15 per thousand) were noted.

  12. Induced elephant (Loxodonta africana) tusk removal.

    PubMed

    Steiner, Martin; Gould, Alan R; Clark, Thomas J; Burns, Roy

    2003-03-01

    Elephant tusk removal usually requires costly surgical procedures that are time-consuming and present a significant risk to the animal when performed using general anesthesia. Such techniques require gauges, chisels, and forceps to remove the tusk. This article reports the simple removal of the tusk of an 18-yr-old African elephant (Loxodonta africana) without the use of surgical instruments and anesthesia. Rubber elastics were placed around a tusk, causing loss of alveolar bone with subsequent exfoliation of the tusk within 3 wk. The healing process was uneventful.

  13. Devastating decline of forest elephants in central Africa.

    PubMed

    Maisels, Fiona; Strindberg, Samantha; Blake, Stephen; Wittemyer, George; Hart, John; Williamson, Elizabeth A; Aba'a, Rostand; Abitsi, Gaspard; Ambahe, Ruffin D; Amsini, Fidèl; Bakabana, Parfait C; Hicks, Thurston Cleveland; Bayogo, Rosine E; Bechem, Martha; Beyers, Rene L; Bezangoye, Anicet N; Boundja, Patrick; Bout, Nicolas; Akou, Marc Ella; Bene, Lambert Bene; Fosso, Bernard; Greengrass, Elizabeth; Grossmann, Falk; Ikamba-Nkulu, Clement; Ilambu, Omari; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Iyenguet, Fortune; Kiminou, Franck; Kokangoye, Max; Kujirakwinja, Deo; Latour, Stephanie; Liengola, Innocent; Mackaya, Quevain; Madidi, Jacob; Madzoke, Bola; Makoumbou, Calixte; Malanda, Guy-Aimé; Malonga, Richard; Mbani, Olivier; Mbendzo, Valentin A; Ambassa, Edgar; Ekinde, Albert; Mihindou, Yves; Morgan, Bethan J; Motsaba, Prosper; Moukala, Gabin; Mounguengui, Anselme; Mowawa, Brice S; Ndzai, Christian; Nixon, Stuart; Nkumu, Pele; Nzolani, Fabian; Pintea, Lilian; Plumptre, Andrew; Rainey, Hugo; de Semboli, Bruno Bokoto; Serckx, Adeline; Stokes, Emma; Turkalo, Andrea; Vanleeuwe, Hilde; Vosper, Ashley; Warren, Ymke

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants- taxonomically and functionally unique-are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002-2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.

  14. Von Economo neurons in the elephant brain.

    PubMed

    Hakeem, Atiya Y; Sherwood, Chet C; Bonar, Christopher J; Butti, Camilla; Hof, Patrick R; Allman, John M

    2009-02-01

    Von Economo neurons (VENs), previously found in humans, all of the great ape species, and four cetacean species, are also present in African and Indian elephants. The VENs in the elephant are primarily found in similar locations to those in the other species. They are most abundant in the frontoinsular cortex (area FI) and are also present at lower density in the anterior cingulate cortex. Additionally, they are found in a dorsolateral prefrontal area and less abundantly in the region of the frontal pole. The VEN morphology appears to have arisen independently in hominids, cetaceans, and elephants, and may reflect a specialization for the rapid transmission of crucial social information in very large brains.

  15. Mammoth and elephant phylogenetic relationships: Mammut americanum, the missing outgroup.

    PubMed

    Orlando, Ludovic; Hänni, Catherine; Douady, Christophe J

    2007-03-29

    At the morphological level, the woolly mammoth has most often been considered as the sister-species of Asian elephants, but at the DNA level, different studies have found support for proximity with African elephants. Recent reports have increased the available sequence data and apparently solved the discrepancy, finding mammoths to be most closely related to Asian elephants. However, we demonstrate here that the three competing topologies have similar likelihood, bayesian and parsimony supports. The analysis further suggests the inadequacy of using Sirenia or Hyracoidea as outgroups. We therefore argue that orthologous sequences from the extinct American mastodon will be required to definitively solve this long-standing question.

  16. Seed dispersal potential of Asian elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harich, Franziska K.; Treydte, Anna C.; Ogutu, Joseph O.; Roberts, John E.; Savini, Chution; Bauer, Jan M.; Savini, Tommaso

    2016-11-01

    Elephants, the largest terrestrial mega-herbivores, play an important ecological role in maintaining forest ecosystem diversity. While several plant species strongly rely on African elephants (Loxodonta africana; L. cyclotis) as seed dispersers, little is known about the dispersal potential of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). We examined the effects of elephant fruit consumption on potential seed dispersal using the example of a tree species with mega-faunal characteristics, Dillenia indica L., in Thailand. We conducted feeding trials with Asian elephants to quantify seed survival and gut passage times (GPT). In total, 1200 ingested and non-ingested control seeds were planted in soil and in elephant dung to quantify differences in germination rates in terms of GPT and dung treatment. We used survival analysis as a novel approach to account for the right-censored nature of the data obtained from germination experiments. The average seed survival rate was 79% and the mean GPT was 35 h. The minimum and maximum GPT were 20 h and 72 h, respectively. Ingested seeds were significantly more likely to germinate and to do so earlier than non-ingested control seeds (P = 0.0002). Seeds with the longest GPT displayed the highest germination success over time. Unexpectedly, seeds planted with dung had longer germination times than those planted without. We conclude that D. indica does not solely depend on but benefits from dispersal by elephants. The declining numbers of these mega-faunal seed dispersers might, therefore, have long-term negative consequences for the recruitment and dispersal dynamics of populations of certain tree species.

  17. Elephants have relatively the largest cerebellum size of mammals.

    PubMed

    Maseko, Busisiwe C; Spocter, Muhammad A; Haagensen, Mark; Manger, Paul R

    2012-04-01

    The current study used MR imaging to determine the volume of the cerebellum and its component parts in the brain of three adult male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and compared this with published data from Asian elephants and other mammalian species including odontocete cetaceans, primates, chiropterans, insectivores, carnivores, and artiodactyls. The cerebellum of the adult elephant has a volume of ∼925 mL (average of both African and Asian species). Allometric analysis indicates that the elephant has the largest relative cerebellum size of all mammals studied to date. In addition, both odontocete cetaceans and microchiropterans appear to have large relative cerebellar sizes. The vermal and hemispheric components of the African elephant cerebellum are both large relative to other mammals of similar brain size, however, for odontocete cetaceans the vermal component is small and the hemispheric component is large. These volumetric observations are related to life-histories and anatomies of the species investigated. The current study provides context for one aspect of the elephant brain in the broader picture of mammalian brain evolution.

  18. Forensic species identification of elephant (Elephantidae) and giraffe (Giraffidae) tail hair using light microscopy.

    PubMed

    Yates, Bonnie C; Espinoza, Edgard O; Baker, Barry W

    2010-09-01

    Here we present methods for distinguishing tail hairs of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) from forensic contexts. Such hairs are commonly used to manufacture jewelry artifacts that are often sold illegally in the international wildlife trade. Tail hairs from these three species are easily confused macroscopically, and morphological methods for distinguishing African and Asian tail hairs have not been published. We used cross section analysis and light microscopy to analyze the tail hair morphology of 18 individual African elephants, 18 Asian elephants, and 40 giraffes. We found that cross-sectional shape, pigment placement, and pigment density are useful morphological features for distinguishing the three species. These observations provide wildlife forensic scientists with an important analytical tool for enforcing legislation and international treaties regulating the trade in elephant parts.

  19. Genetic connectivity across marginal habitats: the elephants of the Namib Desert.

    PubMed

    Ishida, Yasuko; Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J; Leggett, Keith E A; Putnam, Andrea S; Fox, Virginia E; Lai, Jesse; Boag, Peter T; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2016-09-01

    Locally isolated populations in marginal habitats may be genetically distinctive and of heightened conservation concern. Elephants inhabiting the Namib Desert have been reported to show distinctive behavioral and phenotypic adaptations in that severely arid environment. The genetic distinctiveness of Namibian desert elephants relative to other African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations has not been established. To investigate the genetic structure of elephants in Namibia, we determined the mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences and genotyped 17 microsatellite loci in desert elephants (n = 8) from the Hoanib River catchment and the Hoarusib River catchment. We compared these to the genotypes of elephants (n = 77) from other localities in Namibia. The mtDNA haplotype sequences and frequencies among desert elephants were similar to those of elephants in Etosha National Park, the Huab River catchment, the Ugab River catchment, and central Kunene, although the geographically distant Caprivi Strip had different mtDNA haplotypes. Likewise, analysis of the microsatellite genotypes of desert-dwelling elephants revealed that they were not genetically distinctive from Etosha elephants, and there was no evidence for isolation by distance across the Etosha region. These results, and a review of the historical record, suggest that a high learning capacity and long-distance migrations allowed Namibian elephants to regularly shift their ranges to survive in the face of high variability in climate and in hunting pressure.

  20. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    PubMed Central

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (∼USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions. PMID:27802262

  1. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants.

    PubMed

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (∼USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  2. Estimating economic losses to tourism in Africa from the illegal killing of elephants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naidoo, Robin; Fisher, Brendan; Manica, Andrea; Balmford, Andrew

    2016-11-01

    Recent surveys suggest tens of thousands of elephants are being poached annually across Africa, putting the two species at risk across much of their range. Although the financial motivations for ivory poaching are clear, the economic benefits of elephant conservation are poorly understood. We use Bayesian statistical modelling of tourist visits to protected areas, to quantify the lost economic benefits that poached elephants would have delivered to African countries via tourism. Our results show these figures are substantial (~USD $25 million annually), and that the lost benefits exceed the anti-poaching costs necessary to stop elephant declines across the continent's savannah areas, although not currently in the forests of central Africa. Furthermore, elephant conservation in savannah protected areas has net positive economic returns comparable to investments in sectors such as education and infrastructure. Even from a tourism perspective alone, increased elephant conservation is therefore a wise investment by governments in these regions.

  3. Problem-Elephant Translocation: Translocating the Problem and the Elephant?

    PubMed Central

    Fernando, Prithiviraj; Leimgruber, Peter; Prasad, Tharaka; Pastorini, Jennifer

    2012-01-01

    Human-elephant conflict (HEC) threatens the survival of endangered Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Translocating “problem-elephants” is an important HEC mitigation and elephant conservation strategy across elephant range, with hundreds translocated annually. In the first comprehensive assessment of elephant translocation, we monitored 16 translocations in Sri Lanka with GPS collars. All translocated elephants were released into national parks. Two were killed within the parks where they were released, while all the others left those parks. Translocated elephants showed variable responses: “homers” returned to the capture site, “wanderers” ranged widely, and “settlers” established home ranges in new areas soon after release. Translocation caused wider propagation and intensification of HEC, and increased elephant mortality. We conclude that translocation defeats both HEC mitigation and elephant conservation goals. PMID:23236404

  4. Ovarian cycle activity varies with respect to age and social status in free-ranging elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Freeman, Elizabeth W; Meyer, Jordana M; Putman, Sarah B; Schulte, Bruce A; Brown, Janine L

    2013-01-01

    Free-ranging African elephants live in a fission-fusion society, at the centre of which is the matriarch. Matriarchs are generally older females that guide their families to resources and co-ordinate group defense. While much is known about elephant society, knowledge is generally lacking about how age affects the physiology of wild elephants. Investigation of the ovarian activity of free-ranging elephants could provide insight into the reproductive ageing process, with implications for population management. Faecal samples were collected from 46 individuals ranging in age from 14 to 60 years for a 2-year period, and progestagen metabolite analyses were used to examine relationships between social status, age, season, and ovarian activity in female elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Social status was the strongest predictor of faecal progestagen metabolite concentrations in non-pregnant elephants, with grand matriarchs (n = 6) having the lowest values compared with matriarchs (n = 21) and non-matriarch females (n = 19). Likewise, social status and age were the strongest predictors of faecal progestagen metabolite concentrations in pregnant elephants (n = 27). The number of years since a non-pregnant female gave birth to her last calf (post-partum duration) was longer for older females with a higher social status, as well as during the dry season. Our results indicate that social standing and age of elephants are related to reproductive function, and that older females exhibit reductions in ovarian capacity. These results expand our understanding of reproduction and fertility throughout an elephant's lifespan, and the factors that impact gonadal function in free-ranging females. Given that possible over-abundance of elephants in areas such as Addo Elephant National Park is fuelling the debate over how best to manage these populations, knowledge about the reproductive potential of high-ranking females can provide managers with

  5. Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa

    PubMed Central

    Blake, Stephen; Wittemyer, George; Hart, John; Williamson, Elizabeth A.; Aba’a, Rostand; Abitsi, Gaspard; Ambahe, Ruffin D.; Amsini, Fidèl; Bakabana, Parfait C.; Hicks, Thurston Cleveland; Bayogo, Rosine E.; Bechem, Martha; Beyers, Rene L.; Bezangoye, Anicet N.; Boundja, Patrick; Bout, Nicolas; Akou, Marc Ella; Bene, Lambert Bene; Fosso, Bernard; Greengrass, Elizabeth; Grossmann, Falk; Ikamba-Nkulu, Clement; Ilambu, Omari; Inogwabini, Bila-Isia; Iyenguet, Fortune; Kiminou, Franck; Kokangoye, Max; Kujirakwinja, Deo; Latour, Stephanie; Liengola, Innocent; Mackaya, Quevain; Madidi, Jacob; Madzoke, Bola; Makoumbou, Calixte; Malanda, Guy-Aimé; Malonga, Richard; Mbani, Olivier; Mbendzo, Valentin A.; Ambassa, Edgar; Ekinde, Albert; Mihindou, Yves; Morgan, Bethan J.; Motsaba, Prosper; Moukala, Gabin; Mounguengui, Anselme; Mowawa, Brice S.; Ndzai, Christian; Nixon, Stuart; Nkumu, Pele; Nzolani, Fabian; Pintea, Lilian; Plumptre, Andrew; Rainey, Hugo; de Semboli, Bruno Bokoto; Serckx, Adeline; Stokes, Emma; Turkalo, Andrea; Vanleeuwe, Hilde; Vosper, Ashley; Warren, Ymke

    2013-01-01

    African forest elephants– taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced. PMID:23469289

  6. Elevated elephant density does not improve ecotourism opportunities: convergence in social and ecological objectives.

    PubMed

    Maciejewski, Kristine; Kerley, Graham I H

    2014-07-01

    In order to sustainably conserve biodiversity, many protected areas, particularly private protected areas, must find means of self-financing. Ecotourism is increasingly seen as a mechanism to achieve such financial sustainability. However, there is concern that ecotourism operations are driven to achieve successful game-viewing, influencing the management of charismatic species. An abundance of such species, including the African elephant (Loxodonta africana), has been stocked in protected areas under the assumption that they will increase ecotourism value. At moderate to high densities, the impact of elephants is costly; numerous studies have documented severe changes in biodiversity through the impacts of elephants. Protected areas that focus on maintaining high numbers of elephants may therefore face a conflict between socioeconomic demands and the capacity of ecological systems. We address this conflict by analyzing tourist elephant-sighting records from six private and one statutory protected area, the Addo Elephant National Park (AENP), in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, in relation to elephant numbers. We found no relationship between elephant density and elephant-viewing success. Even though elephant density in the AENP increased over time, a hierarchical partitioning analysis indicated that elephant density was not a driver of tourist numbers. In contrast, annual tourist numbers for the AENP were positively correlated with general tourist numbers recorded for South Africa. Our results indicate that the socioeconomic and ecological requirements of protected areas in terms of tourism and elephants, respectively, converge. Thus, high elephant densities and their associated ecological costs are not required to support ecotourism operations for financial sustainability. Understanding the social and ecological feedbacks that dominate the dynamics of protected areas, particularly within private protected areas, can help to elucidate the management

  7. Molecular Characterization of Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines Interleukin-1β and Interleukin-8 in Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Swami, Shelesh Kumar; Vijay, Anushri; Nagarajan, Govindasamy; Kaur, Ramneek; Srivastava, Meera

    2016-01-01

    Interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 are pro-inflammatory cytokines produced primarily by monocytes and macrophages in response to a variety of microbial and nonmicrobial agents. As yet, no molecular data have been reported for IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. In the present study, we have cloned and sequenced the cDNA encoding IL-1β and IL-8 of the Asian elephant. The open reading frame (ORF) of Asian elephant IL-1β is 789 bp in length, encoded a propeptide of 263 amino acid polypeptide. The predicted protein revealed the presence of IL-1 family signature motif and an ICE cut site. Whereas, IL-8 contained 321 bp of open reading frame. Interestingly, the predicted protein sequence of 106 aa, contains an ELR motif immediately upstream of the CQC residues, common in all vertebrate IL-8 molecules. Identity levels of the nucleic acid and deduced amino acid sequences of Asian elephant IL-1β ranged from 68.48 (Squirrel monkey) to 98.57% (African elephant), and 57.78 (Sheep) to 98.47% (African elephant), respectively, whereas that of IL-8 ranged from 72.9% (Human) to 87.8% (African elephant), and 63.2 (human, gorilla, chimpanzee) to 74.5% (African elephant, buffalo), respectively. The phylogenetic analysis based on deduced amino acid sequenced showed that the Asian elephant IL-1β and IL-8 were most closely related to African elephant. Molecular characterization of these two cytokines, IL-1β and IL-8, in Asian elephant provides fundamental information necessary to progress the study of functional immune responses in this animal and gives the potential to use them to manipulate the immune response as recombinant proteins.

  8. REINFORCEMENT OF VOCALIZATIONS THROUGH CONTINGENT VOCAL IMITATION

    PubMed Central

    Pelaez, Martha; Virues-Ortega, Javier; Gewirtz, Jacob L

    2011-01-01

    Maternal vocal imitation of infant vocalizations is highly prevalent during face-to-face interactions of infants and their caregivers. Although maternal vocal imitation has been associated with later verbal development, its potentially reinforcing effect on infant vocalizations has not been explored experimentally. This study examined the reinforcing effect of maternal vocal imitation of infant vocalizations using a reversal probe BAB design. Eleven 3- to 8-month-old infants at high risk for developmental delays experienced contingent maternal vocal imitation during reinforcement conditions. Differential reinforcement of other behavior served as the control condition. The behavior of 10 infants showed evidence of a reinforcement effect. Results indicated that vocal imitations can serve to reinforce early infant vocalizations. PMID:21541136

  9. Reinforcement of vocalizations through contingent vocal imitation.

    PubMed

    Pelaez, Martha; Virues-Ortega, Javier; Gewirtz, Jacob L

    2011-01-01

    Maternal vocal imitation of infant vocalizations is highly prevalent during face-to-face interactions of infants and their caregivers. Although maternal vocal imitation has been associated with later verbal development, its potentially reinforcing effect on infant vocalizations has not been explored experimentally. This study examined the reinforcing effect of maternal vocal imitation of infant vocalizations using a reversal probe BAB design. Eleven 3- to 8-month-old infants at high risk for developmental delays experienced contingent maternal vocal imitation during reinforcement conditions. Differential reinforcement of other behavior served as the control condition. The behavior of 10 infants showed evidence of a reinforcement effect. Results indicated that vocal imitations can serve to reinforce early infant vocalizations.

  10. The identification of elephant ivory evidences of illegal trade with mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and hypervariable D-loop region.

    PubMed

    Lee, Eun-jung; Lee, Yang-han; Moon, Seo-hyun; Kim, Nam-ye; Kim, Soon-hee; Yang, Moon-sik; Choi, Dong-ho; Han, Myun-soo

    2013-04-01

    DNA analysis of elephant ivory of illegal trade was handled in this work. The speciation and geographical origin of nine specimens of elephant ivory were requested by the police. Without national authorization, the suspect had purchased processed ivory seals from January to May, 2011 by Internet transactions from a site in a neighboring country. The DNA of decalcified ivory evidences was isolated with QIAGEN Micro Kit. The total 844-904 base pair sized sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b and D-loop region could be acquired using direct sequencing analysis. They were compared with the sequences registered in GenBank. It was confirmed that most specimens were likely from African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), one from African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and one from Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Analysis of the mitochondrial hypervariable D-loop region sequence of elephants verified that one African savanna elephant might be from South Africa and one Asian elephant from Laos. Cytochrome b and D-loop region located in the mitochondrial DNA resulted in the successful determination of elephant DNA from nine processed ivory specimens.

  11. [Vocal physiopathology].

    PubMed

    Iengo, M; Castagna, G

    1992-01-01

    Cordectomies usually result in alteration of the glottic sphincter which in turn effects the activity of the entire larynx bringing about different types of dysphonia according to the resulting scarring pattern in the glottic floor and to the functional recompensation made by the cordectomized patients themselves. Today, study of those anatomic dynamics which determine voice typology in cordectomized patients is possible thanks to various means: synthesis of data obtained from psycho-perspective analyses of the vocal product, video-fiber-laryngoscopic observation of the vocal tract and spectrographic study. The above-mentioned examinations show how the type of dysphonia in these patients is determined by the various combinations of different scarring patterns, which also depend on the entity of surgical exeresis, and the position taken on by various laryngeal district during phonation? The authors present paradigmatic clinical cases in order to demonstrate the different phonatory capabilities achieved by patients who had undergone either cordectomy or cordectomy extended to the ventricle and false vocal cords.

  12. Elephant behaviour and conservation: social relationships, the effects of poaching, and genetic tools for management.

    PubMed

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Chiyo, Patrick I

    2012-02-01

    Genetic tools are increasingly valuable for understanding the behaviour, evolution, and conservation of social species. In African elephants, for instance, genetic data provide basic information on the population genetic causes and consequences of social behaviour, and how human activities alter elephants' social and genetic structures. As such, African elephants provide a useful case study to understand the relationships between social behaviour and population genetic structure in a conservation framework. Here, we review three areas where genetic methods have made important contributions to elephant behavioural ecology and conservation: (1) understanding kin-based relationships in females and the effects of poaching on the adaptive value of elephant relationships, (2) understanding patterns of paternity in elephants and how poaching can alter these patterns, and (3) conservation genetic tools to census elusive populations, track ivory, and understand the behavioural ecology of crop-raiding. By comparing studies from populations that have experienced a range of poaching intensities, we find that human activities have a large effect on elephant behaviour and genetic structure. Poaching disrupts kin-based association patterns, decreases the quality of elephant social relationships, and increases male reproductive skew, with important consequences for population health and the maintenance of genetic diversity. In addition, we find that genetic tools to census populations or gather forensic information are almost always more accurate than non-genetic alternatives. These results contribute to a growing understanding of poaching on animal behaviour, and how genetic tools can be used to understand and conserve social species.

  13. Risk and Ethical Concerns of Hunting Male Elephant: Behavioural and Physiological Assays of the Remaining Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Burke, Tarryne; Page, Bruce; Van Dyk, Gus; Millspaugh, Josh; Slotow, Rob

    2008-01-01

    Background Hunting of male African elephants may pose ethical and risk concerns, particularly given their status as a charismatic species of high touristic value, yet which are capable of both killing people and damaging infrastructure. Methodology/Principal Findings We quantified the effect of hunts of male elephants on (1) risk of attack or damage (11 hunts), and (2) behavioural (movement dynamics) and physiological (stress hormone metabolite concentrations) responses (4 hunts) in Pilanesberg National Park. For eleven hunts, there were no subsequent attacks on people or infrastructure, and elephants did not break out of the fenced reserve. For three focal hunts, there was an initial flight response by bulls present at the hunting site, but their movements stabilised the day after the hunt event. Animals not present at the hunt (both bulls and herds) did not show movement responses. Physiologically, hunting elephant bulls increased faecal stress hormone levels (corticosterone metabolites) in both those bulls that were present at the hunts (for up to four days post-hunt) and in the broader bull and breeding herd population (for up to one month post-hunt). Conclusions/Significance As all responses were relatively minor, hunting male elephants is ethically acceptable when considering effects on the remaining elephant population; however bulls should be hunted when alone. Hunting is feasible in relatively small enclosed reserves without major risk of attack, damage, or breakout. Physiological stress assays were more effective than behavioural responses in detecting effects of human intervention. Similar studies should evaluate intervention consequences, inform and improve best practice, and should be widely applied by management agencies. PMID:18560517

  14. Vocal Tremor Analysis with the Vocal Demodulator.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Winholtz, William S.; Ramig, Lorraine Olson

    1992-01-01

    This paper describes the Vocal Demodulator as a new device for analysis of vocal tremor. The Vocal Demodulator produces amplitude-demodulated and frequency-demodulated outputs and measures the frequency and level of low-frequency tremor components in sustained phonation. The paper describes quantification of the demodulation process, validation…

  15. Fetal lung development in the elephant reflects the adaptations required for snorkeling in adult life.

    PubMed

    West, John B; Fu, Zhenxing; Gaeth, Ann P; Short, Roger V

    2003-11-14

    The adult elephant is unique among mammals in that the pleural membranes are thickened and the pleural cavity is obliterated by connective tissue. It has been suggested that this peculiar anatomy developed because the animal can snorkel at depth, and this behavior subjects the microvessels in the parietal pleura to a very large transmural pressure. To investigate the development of the parietal pleura, the thickness of the endothoracic fascia (ET) was measured in four fetal African elephants of approximate gestational age 111-130 days, and the appearances were compared with those in human, rabbit, rat and mouse fetuses of approximately the same stage of lung organogenesis. The mean thicknesses of ET in the elephant, human, rabbit, rat and mouse were 403, 53, 29, 27 and 37 microm, respectively. This very early development of a thick parietal pleura in the elephant fetus is consistent with the hypothesis of a long history of snorkeling in the elephant's putative aquatic ancestors.

  16. Observations on Barclay's elephant.

    PubMed

    Kaufman, M H

    1996-04-01

    This account attempts to trace the fate of the skeleton of an elephant that was gifted by George Ballingall to Dr John Barclay, one of the most important teachers of Anatomy in Edinburgh during the early 19th century. In his will, Barclay gifted his human and comparative anatomy collections, including the elephant, to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh on two conditions, that a hall should be built to house the collection, and that it should be associated with his name in perpetuity. In the 1830s, the comparative collection, but particularly the skeleton of the elephant, was the pride of the College. Unfortunately, interest in the comparative material rapidly diminished, and, due to constraints on space, while the elephant's skull was retained the rest of the skeleton was disposed of. An unpublished poem written at the time of the Burke trial, in 1829, testifies to the fact that Barclay's elephant was closely associated in the minds of the public with the activities of Dr Robert Knox, the then Conservator of the College museum.

  17. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) reassure others in distress.

    PubMed

    Plotnik, Joshua M; de Waal, Frans B M

    2014-01-01

    Contact directed by uninvolved bystanders toward others in distress, often termed consolation, is uncommon in the animal kingdom, thus far only demonstrated in the great apes, canines, and corvids. Whereas the typical agonistic context of such contact is relatively rare within natural elephant families, other causes of distress may trigger similar, other-regarding responses. In a study carried out at an elephant camp in Thailand, we found that elephants affiliated significantly more with other individuals through directed, physical contact and vocal communication following a distress event than in control periods. In addition, bystanders affiliated with each other, and matched the behavior and emotional state of the first distressed individual, suggesting emotional contagion. The initial distress responses were overwhelmingly directed toward ambiguous stimuli, thus making it difficult to determine if bystanders reacted to the distressed individual or showed a delayed response to the same stimulus. Nonetheless, the directionality of the contacts and their nature strongly suggest attention toward the emotional states of conspecifics. The elephants' behavior is therefore best classified with similar consolation responses by apes, possibly based on convergent evolution of empathic capacities.

  18. Elephant brain. Part I: gross morphology, functions, comparative anatomy, and evolution.

    PubMed

    Shoshani, Jeheskel; Kupsky, William J; Marchant, Gary H

    2006-06-30

    We report morphological data on brains of four African, Loxodonta africana, and three Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, and compare findings to literature. Brains exhibit a gyral pattern more complex and with more numerous gyri than in primates, humans included, and in carnivores, but less complex than in cetaceans. Cerebral frontal, parietal, temporal, limbic, and insular lobes are well developed, whereas the occipital lobe is relatively small. The insula is not as opercularized as in man. The temporal lobe is disproportionately large and expands laterally. Humans and elephants have three parallel temporal gyri: superior, middle, and inferior. Hippocampal sizes in elephants and humans are comparable, but proportionally smaller in elephant. A possible carotid rete was observed at the base of the brain. Brain size appears to be related to body size, ecology, sociality, and longevity. Elephant adult brain averages 4783 g, the largest among living and extinct terrestrial mammals; elephant neonate brain averages 50% of its adult brain weight (25% in humans). Cerebellar weight averages 18.6% of brain (1.8 times larger than in humans). During evolution, encephalization quotient has increased by 10-fold (0.2 for extinct Moeritherium, approximately 2.0 for extant elephants). We present 20 figures of the elephant brain, 16 of which contain new material. Similarities between human and elephant brains could be due to convergent evolution; both display mosaic characters and are highly derived mammals. Humans and elephants use and make tools and show a range of complex learning skills and behaviors. In elephants, the large amount of cerebral cortex, especially in the temporal lobe, and the well-developed olfactory system, structures associated with complex learning and behavioral functions in humans, may provide the substrate for such complex skills and behavior.

  19. CONSERVATION. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa's major poaching hotspots.

    PubMed

    Wasser, S K; Brown, L; Mailand, C; Mondol, S; Clark, W; Laurie, C; Weir, B S

    2015-07-03

    Poaching of elephants is now occurring at rates that threaten African populations with extinction. Identifying the number and location of Africa's major poaching hotspots may assist efforts to end poaching and facilitate recovery of elephant populations. We genetically assign origin to 28 large ivory seizures (≥0.5 metric tons) made between 1996 and 2014, also testing assignment accuracy. Results suggest that the major poaching hotspots in Africa may be currently concentrated in as few as two areas. Increasing law enforcement in these two hotspots could help curtail future elephant losses across Africa and disrupt this organized transnational crime.

  20. Forest elephant mitochondrial genomes reveal that elephantid diversification in Africa tracked climate transitions.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Adam L; Ishida, Yasuko; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2012-03-01

    Among elephants, the phylogeographic patterns of mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear markers are often incongruent. One hypothesis attributes this to sex differences in dispersal and in the variance of reproductive success. We tested this hypothesis by examining the coalescent dates of genetic markers within elephantid lineages, predicting that lower dispersal and lower variance in reproductive success among females would have increased mtDNA relative to nuclear coalescent dates. We sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of two forest elephants, aligning them to mitogenomes of African savanna and Asian elephants, and of woolly mammoths, including the most divergent mitogenomes within each lineage. Using fossil calibrations, the divergence between African elephant F and S clade mitochondrial genomes (originating in forest and savanna elephant lineages, respectively) was estimated as 5.5 Ma. We estimated that the (African) ancestor of the mammoth and Asian elephant lineages diverged 6.0 Ma, indicating that four elephantid lineages had differentiated in Africa by the Miocene-Pliocene transition, concurrent with drier climates. The coalescent date for forest elephant mtDNAs was c. 2.4 Ma, suggesting that the decrease in tropical forest cover during the Pleistocene isolated distinct African forest elephant lineages. For all elephantid lineages, the ratio of mtDNA to nuclear coalescent dates was much greater than 0.25. This is consistent with the expectation that sex differences in dispersal and in variance of reproductive success would have increased the effective population size of mtDNA relative to nuclear markers in elephantids, contributing to the persistence of incongruent mtDNA phylogeographic patterns.

  1. Liquid semen storage in elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana): species differences and storage optimization.

    PubMed

    Kiso, Wendy K; Brown, Janine L; Siewerdt, Frank; Schmitt, Dennis L; Olson, Deborah; Crichton, Elizabeth G; Pukazhenthi, Budhan S

    2011-01-01

    Artificial insemination plays a key role in the genetic management of elephants in zoos. Because freshly extended semen is typically used for artificial insemination in elephants, it has become imperative to optimize conditions for liquid storage and semen transport. The objectives of this study were to examine the interactions between different extenders and storage temperatures on sperm total motility, progressive motility, and acrosomal integrity in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants. Ejaculates were collected by rectal massage, diluted using a split-sample technique in 5 semen extenders: TL-Hepes (HEP), Modena (MOD), Biladyl (BIL), TEST refrigeration medium (TES), and INRA96 (INR), maintained at 35°C, 22°C, or 4°C. At 0, 4, 6, 12, and 24 hours, aliquots were removed and assessed for sperm total motility, progressive motility, and acrosomal integrity. After 24 hours of storage, African elephant spermatozoa exhibited greater longevity and higher values in sperm quality parameters compared with those of Asian elephants. In both species, semen storage at 35°C resulted in a sharp decline in all sperm quality parameters after 4 hours of storage, whereas storage at 22°C and 4°C facilitated sperm survival. In Asian elephants, MOD and HEP were most detrimental, whereas BIL, TES, and INR maintained motility up to 12 hours when spermatozoa were cooled to 22°Cor4°C. In African elephants, there were no differences among extenders. All media maintained good sperm quality parameters at 22°C or 4°C. However, although MOD, BIL, and INR were most effective at lower temperatures, HEP and TES maintained sperm motility at all storage temperatures. This study demonstrated sperm sensitivity to components of various semen extenders and storage temperatures and offers recommendations for semen extender choices for liquid semen storage for both Asian and African elephants.

  2. Vocal Imitations of Non-Vocal Sounds

    PubMed Central

    Houix, Olivier; Voisin, Frédéric; Misdariis, Nicolas; Susini, Patrick

    2016-01-01

    Imitative behaviors are widespread in humans, in particular whenever two persons communicate and interact. Several tokens of spoken languages (onomatopoeias, ideophones, and phonesthemes) also display different degrees of iconicity between the sound of a word and what it refers to. Thus, it probably comes at no surprise that human speakers use a lot of imitative vocalizations and gestures when they communicate about sounds, as sounds are notably difficult to describe. What is more surprising is that vocal imitations of non-vocal everyday sounds (e.g. the sound of a car passing by) are in practice very effective: listeners identify sounds better with vocal imitations than with verbal descriptions, despite the fact that vocal imitations are inaccurate reproductions of a sound created by a particular mechanical system (e.g. a car driving by) through a different system (the voice apparatus). The present study investigated the semantic representations evoked by vocal imitations of sounds by experimentally quantifying how well listeners could match sounds to category labels. The experiment used three different types of sounds: recordings of easily identifiable sounds (sounds of human actions and manufactured products), human vocal imitations, and computational “auditory sketches” (created by algorithmic computations). The results show that performance with the best vocal imitations was similar to the best auditory sketches for most categories of sounds, and even to the referent sounds themselves in some cases. More detailed analyses showed that the acoustic distance between a vocal imitation and a referent sound is not sufficient to account for such performance. Analyses suggested that instead of trying to reproduce the referent sound as accurately as vocally possible, vocal imitations focus on a few important features, which depend on each particular sound category. These results offer perspectives for understanding how human listeners store and access long

  3. Detection and evaluation of novel herpesviruses in routine and pathological samples from Asian and African elephants: identification of two new probosciviruses (EEHV5 and EEHV6) and two new gammaherpesviruses (EGHV3B and EGHV5).

    PubMed

    Latimer, Erin; Zong, Jian-Chao; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Richman, Laura K; Hayward, Gary S

    2011-01-10

    Systemic infections with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) cause a rapid onset acute hemorrhagic disease with an 85% mortality rate. More than 60 cases have been confirmed worldwide occurring predominantly in juvenile Asian elephants. Originally, three virus types EEHV1A, EEHV1B and EEHV2 were identified, all members of the Proboscivirus genus within the Betaherpesvirinae. However, four elephant gammaherpesviruses (EGHV) have also been found by DNA PCR approaches in eye and genital secretions of asymptomatic animals, and two more versions of the probosciviruses, EEHV3 and EEHV4, were recently detected in acute hemorrhagic disease cases. To ask whether even more species of elephant herpesviruses may exist, we have developed several new diagnostic DNA PCR assays using multiple round primers in the DNA POL region. These have been used routinely for nearly three years to screen samples submitted to the Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory for diagnosis of possible cases of EEHV disease in blood and necropsy tissue, as well as in biopsies of other suspicious lesions or growths. Several more cases of EEHV1-associated hemorrhagic disease were confirmed, but in addition, we describe here eleven examples of other known and novel herpesviruses detected and evaluated with these reagents. They include the prototypes of four new elephant herpesviruses, two more within the proboscivirus group EEHV5 and EEHV6, plus two more gammaherpesviruses EGHV3B and EGHV5. We also report initial semi-quantitative PCR assays demonstrating very high viral loads in the blood of the EEHV3 and EEHV4-associated hemorrhagic disease cases.

  4. Recumbence Behavior in Zoo Elephants: Determination of Patterns and Frequency of Recumbent Rest and Associated Environmental and Social Factors

    PubMed Central

    Holdgate, Matthew R.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Miller, Lance J.; Rushen, Jeff; de Passillé, Anne Marie; Soltis, Joseph; Andrews, Jeff; Shepherdson, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Resting behaviors are an essential component of animal welfare but have received little attention in zoological research. African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) rest includes recumbent postures, but no large-scale investigation of African and Asian zoo elephant recumbence has been previously conducted. We used anklets equipped with accelerometers to measure recumbence in 72 adult female African (n = 44) and Asian (n = 28) elephants housed in 40 North American zoos. We collected 344 days of data and determined associations between recumbence and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. African elephants were recumbent less (2.1 hours/day, S.D. = 1.1) than Asian elephants (3.2 hours/day, S.D. = 1.5; P < 0.001). Nearly one-third of elephants were non-recumbent on at least one night, suggesting this is a common behavior. Multi-variable regression models for each species showed that substrate, space, and social variables had the strongest associations with recumbence. In the African model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-hard substrate were recumbent 0.6 hours less per day than those who were never on all-hard substrate, and elephants who experienced an additional acre of outdoor space at night increased their recumbence by 0.48 hours per day. In the Asian model, elephants who spent any amount of time housed on all-soft substrate were recumbent 1.1 hours more per day more than those who were never on all-soft substrate, and elephants who spent any amount of time housed alone were recumbent 0.77 hours more per day than elephants who were never housed alone. Our results draw attention to the significant interspecific difference in the amount of recumbent rest and in the factors affecting recumbence; however, in both species, the influence of flooring substrate is notably important to recumbent rest, and by extension, zoo elephant welfare. PMID:27414809

  5. Immunogenetics of the Elephant Seal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garza, John Carlos

    1999-01-01

    The goals of this cooperative agreement fall into three categories: 1) A basic description of Immunogenetic variation in the northern elephant seal genome; 2) A basic genetic map of the northern elephant seal genome; 3). Microevolutionary forces in the northern elephant seal genome. The results described in this report were acquired using funds from this cooperative agreement together with funds from a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant.

  6. Elephant Management in North American Zoos: Environmental Enrichment, Feeding, Exercise, and Training.

    PubMed

    Greco, Brian J; Meehan, Cheryl L; Miller, Lance J; Shepherdson, David J; Morfeld, Kari A; Andrews, Jeff; Baker, Anne M; Carlstead, Kathy; Mench, Joy A

    2016-01-01

    The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants' nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses.

  7. Techniques for Vocal Health.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wiest, Lori

    1997-01-01

    Outlines a series of simple yet effective practices, techniques, and tips for improving the singing voice and minimizing stress on the vocal chords. Describes the four components for producing vocal sound: respiration, phonation, resonation, and articulation. Provides exercises for each and lists symptoms of sickness and vocal strain. (MJP)

  8. Review of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses and Acute Hemorrhagic Disease

    PubMed Central

    Long, Simon Y.; Latimer, Erin M.; Hayward, Gary S.

    2016-01-01

    More than 100 young captive and wild Asian elephants are known to have died from a rapid-onset, acute hemorrhagic disease caused primarily by multiple distinct strains of two closely related chimeric variants of a novel herpesvirus species designated elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV1A and EEHV1B). These and two other species of Probosciviruses (EEHV4 and EEHV5) are evidently ancient and likely nearly ubiquitous asymptomatic infections of adult Asian elephants worldwide that are occasionally shed in trunk wash secretions. Although only a handful of similar cases have been observed in African elephants, they also have proved to harbor their own multiple and distinct species of Probosciviruses—EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7—found in lung and skin nodules or saliva. For reasons that are not yet understood, approximately 20% of Asian elephant calves appear to be susceptible to the disease when primary infections are not controlled by normal innate cellular and humoral immune responses. Sensitive specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA blood tests have been developed, routine monitoring has been established, the complete large DNA genomes of each of the four Asian EEHV species have now been sequenced, and PCR gene subtyping has provided unambiguous evidence that this is a sporadic rather than epidemic disease that it is not being spread among zoos or other elephant housing facilities. Nevertheless, researchers have not yet been able to propagate EEHV in cell culture, determine whether or not human antiherpesvirus drugs are effective inhibitors, or develop serology assays that can distinguish between antibodies against the multiple different EEHV species. PMID:26912715

  9. Fatal herpesvirus hemorrhagic disease in wild and orphan asian elephants in southern India.

    PubMed

    Zachariah, Arun; Zong, Jian-Chao; Long, Simon Y; Latimer, Erin M; Heaggans, Sarah Y; Richman, Laura K; Hayward, Gary S

    2013-04-01

    Up to 65% of deaths of young Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) between 3 mo and 15 yr of age in Europe and North America over the past 20 yr have been attributed to hemorrhagic disease associated with a novel DNA virus called elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV). To evaluate the potential role of EEHV in suspected cases of a similar lethal acute hemorrhagic disease occurring in southern India, we studied pathologic tissue samples collected from field necropsies. Nine cases among both orphaned camp and wild Asian elephants were identified by diagnostic PCR. These were subjected to detailed gene subtype DNA sequencing at multiple PCR loci, which revealed seven distinct strains of EEHV1A and one of EEHV1B. Two orphan calves that died within 3 days of one another at the same training camp had identical EEHV1A DNA sequences, indicating a common epidemiologic source. However, the high level of EEHV1 subtype genetic diversity found among the other Indian strains matches that among over 30 EEHV1 strains that have been evaluated from Europe and North America. These results argue against the previous suggestions that this is just a disease of captive elephants and that the EEHV1 virus has crossed recently from African elephant (Loxodonta africana) hosts to Asian elephants. Instead, both the virus and the disease are evidently widespread in Asia and, despite the disease severity, Asian elephants appear to be the ancient endogenous hosts of both EEHV1A and EEHV1B.

  10. Illuminating Cancer Resistance in Elephants.

    PubMed

    2015-12-01

    A new study shows that elephants have at least 20 copies of the tumor suppressor gene TP53; their cells also favor apoptosis over DNA repair when subjected to DNA-damaging agents. These findings may help explain elephants' longevity and low cancer risk, and shed further light on natural cancer suppression mechanisms.

  11. Assessing the General Education Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Eubanks, David A.

    2008-01-01

    Determining the success of a general education program can resemble the task of John Godfrey's six blind men in trying to acquaint themselves with an elephant. One man's approach is to feel the tusk and conclude that the elephant is a spear. Another approach leads to thinking that the broad side of the animal is a wall. The many ways of asking and…

  12. Elephants in the understory: opposing direct and indirect effects of consumption and ecosystem engineering by megaherbivores.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Kartzinel, Tyler R; Grabowski, Kathryn L; Shriver, Robert K; Hassan, Abdikadir A; Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M; Pringle, Robert M

    2016-11-01

    Positive indirect effects of consumers on their resources can stabilize food webs by preventing overexploitation, but the coupling of trophic and non-trophic interactions remains poorly integrated into our understanding of community dynamics. Elephants engineer African savanna ecosystems by toppling trees and breaking branches, and although their negative effects on trees are well documented, their effects on small-statured plants remain poorly understood. Using data on 117 understory plant taxa collected over 7 yr within 36 1-ha experimental plots in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna, we measured the strength and direction of elephant impacts on understory vegetation. We found that elephants had neutral effects on most (83-89%) species, with a similar frequency of positive and negative responses among the remainder. Overall, estimated understory biomass was 5-14% greater in the presence of elephants across a range of rainfall levels. Whereas direct consumption likely accounts for the negative effects, positive effects are presumably indirect. We hypothesized that elephants create associational refuges for understory plants by damaging tree canopies in ways that physically inhibit feeding by other large herbivores. As predicted, understory biomass and species richness beneath elephant-damaged trees were 55% and 21% greater, respectively, than under undamaged trees. Experimentally simulated elephant damage increased understory biomass by 37% and species richness by 49% after 1 yr. Conversely, experimentally removing elephant damaged branches decreased understory biomass by 39% and richness by 30% relative to sham-manipulated trees. Camera-trap surveys revealed that elephant damage reduced the frequency of herbivory by 71%, whereas we detected no significant effect of damage on temperature, light, or soil moisture. We conclude that elephants locally facilitate understory plants by creating refuges from herbivory, which countervails the direct negative effects of

  13. Development and validation of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assays to detect elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses-2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

    PubMed

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Nofs, Sally A; Peng, Rongsheng; Hayward, Gary S; Ling, Paul D

    2012-12-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in both African and Asian elephants. At least seven EEHV types have been described, and sensitive real-time PCR tests have been developed for EEHV1A and 1B, which are associated with the majority of characterized Asian elephant deaths. Despite growing knowledge of the different EEHV types, the prevalence of each type within African and Asian elephants remains to be determined and there is considerable need for diagnostic tests to detect and discriminate between each EEHV species for clinical management of African and Asian elephants that develop illness from one or more of these viruses. To begin to address these issues, we developed real-time PCR assays for EEHV2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Overall, each assay had robust PCR efficiency, a dynamic linear range over 5log(10) concentrations, a limit of detection of 10 copies/test reaction with 100% sensitivity, and low intra- and inter-assay variability. Each assay proved to be specific for the EEHV targets for which it was designed, with the exception of EEHV3 and EEHV4, which was expected because of greater DNA sequence similarity between these two EEHV species than the others. These new tools will be useful for conducting surveys of EEHV prevalence within captive and range country elephants, for diagnostic testing of elephants with suspected EEHV-associated disease, and for managing the treatment of elephants with EEHV-induced illness.

  14. Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) reassure others in distress

    PubMed Central

    de Waal, Frans B.M.

    2014-01-01

    Contact directed by uninvolved bystanders toward others in distress, often termed consolation, is uncommon in the animal kingdom, thus far only demonstrated in the great apes, canines, and corvids. Whereas the typical agonistic context of such contact is relatively rare within natural elephant families, other causes of distress may trigger similar, other-regarding responses. In a study carried out at an elephant camp in Thailand, we found that elephants affiliated significantly more with other individuals through directed, physical contact and vocal communication following a distress event than in control periods. In addition, bystanders affiliated with each other, and matched the behavior and emotional state of the first distressed individual, suggesting emotional contagion. The initial distress responses were overwhelmingly directed toward ambiguous stimuli, thus making it difficult to determine if bystanders reacted to the distressed individual or showed a delayed response to the same stimulus. Nonetheless, the directionality of the contacts and their nature strongly suggest attention toward the emotional states of conspecifics. The elephants’ behavior is therefore best classified with similar consolation responses by apes, possibly based on convergent evolution of empathic capacities. PMID:24688856

  15. Elephant Management in North American Zoos: Environmental Enrichment, Feeding, Exercise, and Training

    PubMed Central

    Greco, Brian J.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Miller, Lance J.; Shepherdson, David J.; Morfeld, Kari A.; Andrews, Jeff; Baker, Anne M.; Carlstead, Kathy; Mench, Joy A.

    2016-01-01

    The management of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants in zoos involves a range of practices including feeding, exercise, training, and environmental enrichment. These practices are necessary to meet the elephants’ nutritional, healthcare, and husbandry needs. However, these practices are not standardized, resulting in likely variation among zoos as well as differences in the way they are applied to individual elephants within a zoo. To characterize elephant management in North America, we collected survey data from zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, developed 26 variables, generated population level descriptive statistics, and analyzed them to identify differences attributable to sex and species. Sixty-seven zoos submitted surveys describing the management of 224 elephants and the training experiences of 227 elephants. Asian elephants spent more time managed (defined as interacting directly with staff) than Africans (mean time managed: Asians = 56.9%; Africans = 48.6%; p<0.001), and managed time increased by 20.2% for every year of age for both species. Enrichment, feeding, and exercise programs were evaluated using diversity indices, with mean scores across zoos in the midrange for these measures. There were an average of 7.2 feedings every 24-hour period, with only 1.2 occurring during the nighttime. Feeding schedules were predictable at 47.5% of zoos. We also calculated the relative use of rewarding and aversive techniques employed during training interactions. The population median was seven on a scale from one (representing only aversive stimuli) to nine (representing only rewarding stimuli). The results of our study provide essential information for understanding management variation that could be relevant to welfare. Furthermore, the variables we created have been used in subsequent elephant welfare analyses. PMID:27414654

  16. Major histocompatibility complex variation and evolution at a single, expressed DQA locus in two genera of elephants.

    PubMed

    Archie, Elizabeth A; Henry, Tammy; Maldonado, Jesus E; Moss, Cynthia J; Poole, Joyce H; Pearson, Virginia R; Murray, Suzan; Alberts, Susan C; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-02-01

    Genes of the vertebrate major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are crucial to defense against infectious disease, provide an important measure of functional genetic diversity, and have been implicated in mate choice and kin recognition. As a result, MHC loci have been characterized for a number of vertebrate species, especially mammals;however, elephants are a notable exception. Our study is the first to characterize patterns of genetic diversity and natural selection in the elephant MHC. We did so using DNA sequences from a single, expressed DQA locus in elephants.We characterized six alleles in 30 African elephants(Loxodonta africana) and four alleles in three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). In addition, for two of the African alleles and three of the Asian alleles, we characterized complete coding sequences (exons 1-5) and nearly complete non-coding sequences (introns 2-4) for the class II DQA loci. Compared to DQA in other wild mammals, we found moderate polymorphism and allelic diversity and similar patterns of selection; patterns of non-synonymous and synonymous substitutions were consistent with balancing selection acting on the peptides involved in antigen binding in the second exon. In addition, balancing selection has led to strong trans-species allelism that has maintained multiple allelic lineages across both genera of extant elephants for at least 6 million years. We discuss our results in the context of MHC diversity in other mammals and patterns of evolution in elephants.

  17. Corridor use by Asian elephants.

    PubMed

    Pan, Wenjing; Lin, Liu; Luo, Aidong; Zhang, Li

    2009-06-01

    There are 18 km of Kunming-Bangkok Highway passing through the Mengyang Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province, China. From September 2005 to September 2006 the impact of this highway on movement of wild Asian elephants between the eastern and western part of the nature reserve was studied using track transecting, rural surveys and direct monitoring. Our results showed that the number of crossroad corridors used by Asian elephants diminished from 28 to 23 following the construction of the highway. In some areas, the elephant activity diminished or even disappeared, which indicated a change in their home ranges. The utilization rate of artificial corridors was 44%. We also found that elephants preferred artificial corridors that were placed along their original corridors. During the research, wild elephants revealed their adaptation to the highway. They were found walking across the highway road surface many times and for different reasons. We suggest that the highway management bureau should revise their management strategies to mitigate the potential risks caused by elephants on the road for the safety of the public and to protect this endangered species from harm. It is also very important to protect and maintain current Asian elephants corridors in this region.

  18. Potential Mechanisms for Cancer Resistance in Elephants and Comparative Cellular Response to DNA Damage in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; Lee, Kristy; Robinson, Rosann; Campbell, Michael S.; Kiso, Wendy K.; Schmitt, Dennis L.; Waddell, Peter J; Bhaskara, Srividya; Jensen, Shane T.; Maley, Carlo C.; Schiffman, Joshua D.

    2016-01-01

    IMPORTANCE Evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. OBJECTIVE To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n = 644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro in the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n = 8), patients with LFS (n = 10), and age-matched human controls (n = 11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. EXPOSURES Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. RESULTS Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95%CI, 0%–5%]; African wild dog, 8%[95%CI, 0%–16%]; lion, 2%[95%CI, 0% –7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95%CI, 3.14%–6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25%cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain

  19. Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

    DOE PAGES

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; ...

    2015-10-08

    Here, evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). Design, Setting, and Participants A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n=644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro inmore » the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n=8), patients with LFS (n=10), and age-matched human controls (n=11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. Exposures Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95% CI, 0%-5%]; African wild dog, 8% [95% CI, 0%-16%]; lion, 2% [95% CI, 0%-7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95% CI, 3.14%-6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25% cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In response to DNA damage, elephant lymphocytes

  20. Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

    SciTech Connect

    Abegglen, Lisa M.; Caulin, Aleah F.; Chan, Ashley; Lee, Kristy; Robinson, Rosann; Campbell, Michael S.; Kiso, Wendy K.; Schmitt, Dennis L.; Waddell, Peter J.; Bhaskara, Srividya; Jensen, Shane T.; Maley, Carlo C.; Schiffman, Joshua D.

    2015-10-08

    Here, evolutionary medicine may provide insights into human physiology and pathophysiology, including tumor biology. To identify mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and compare cellular response to DNA damage among elephants, healthy human controls, and cancer-prone patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). Design, Setting, and Participants A comprehensive survey of necropsy data was performed across 36 mammalian species to validate cancer resistance in large and long-lived organisms, including elephants (n=644). The African and Asian elephant genomes were analyzed for potential mechanisms of cancer resistance. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from elephants, healthy human controls, and patients with LFS were tested in vitro in the laboratory for DNA damage response. The study included African and Asian elephants (n=8), patients with LFS (n=10), and age-matched human controls (n=11). Human samples were collected at the University of Utah between June 2014 and July 2015. Exposures Ionizing radiation and doxorubicin. Cancer mortality across species was calculated and compared by body size and life span. The elephant genome was investigated for alterations in cancer-related genes. DNA repair and apoptosis were compared in elephant vs human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Across mammals, cancer mortality did not increase with body size and/or maximum life span (eg, for rock hyrax, 1% [95% CI, 0%-5%]; African wild dog, 8% [95% CI, 0%-16%]; lion, 2% [95% CI, 0%-7%]). Despite their large body size and long life span, elephants remain cancer resistant, with an estimated cancer mortality of 4.81% (95% CI, 3.14%-6.49%), compared with humans, who have 11% to 25% cancer mortality. While humans have 1 copy (2 alleles) of TP53, African elephants have at least 20 copies (40 alleles), including 19 retrogenes (38 alleles) with evidence of transcriptional activity measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In response to DNA damage, elephant lymphocytes

  1. Meaning and emotion in animal vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Seyfarth, Robert M; Cheney, Dorothy L

    2003-12-01

    Historically, a dichotomy has been drawn between the semantic communication of human language and the apparently emotional calls of animals. Current research paints a more complicated picture. Just as scientists have identified elements of human speech that reflect a speaker's emotions, field experiments have shown that the calls of many animals provide listeners with information about objects and events in the environment. Like human speech, therefore, animal vocalizations simultaneously provide others with information that is both semantic and emotional. In support of this conclusion, we review the results of field experiments on the natural vocalizations of African vervet monkeys, diana monkeys, baboons, and suricates (a South African mongoose). Vervet and diana monkeys give acoustically distinct alarm calls in response to the presence of leopards, eagles, and snakes. Each alarm call type elicits a different, adaptive response from others nearby. Field experiments demonstrate that listeners compare these vocalizations not just according to their acoustic properties but also according to the information they convey. Like monkeys, suricates give acoustically distinct alarm calls in response to different predators. Within each predator class, the calls also differ acoustically according to the signaler's perception of urgency. Like speech, therefore, suricate alarm calls convey both semantic and emotional information. The vocalizations of baboons, like those of many birds and mammals, are individually distinctive. As a result, when one baboon hears a sequence of calls exchanged between two or more individuals, the listener acquires information about social events in its group. Baboons, moreover, are skilled "eavesdroppers:" their response to different call sequences provides evidence of the sophisticated information they acquire from other individuals' vocalizations. Baboon males give loud "wahoo" calls during competitive displays. Like other vocalizations, these

  2. Beehive fences as a multidimensional conflict-mitigation tool for farmers coexisting with elephants.

    PubMed

    King, Lucy E; Lala, Fredrick; Nzumu, Hesron; Mwambingu, Emmanuel; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain

    2017-02-21

    Increasing habitat fragmentation and human population growth in Africa has resulted in an escalation in human-elephant conflict between small-scale farmers and free-ranging African elephants (Loxodonta Africana). In 2012 Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) implemented the national 10-year Conservation and Management Strategy for the Elephant in Kenya, which includes an action aimed at testing whether beehive fences can be used to mitigate human-elephant conflict. From 2012 to 2015, we field-tested the efficacy of beehive fences to protect 10 0.4-ha farms next to Tsavo East National Park from elephants. We hung a series of beehives every 10 m around the boundary of each farm plot. The hives were linked with strong wire. After an initial pilot test with 2 farms, the remaining 8 of 10 beehive fences also contained 2-dimensional dummy hives between real beehives to help reduce the cost of the fence. Each trial plot had a neighboring control plot of the same size within the same farm. Of the 131 beehives deployed 88% were occupied at least once during the 3.5-year trial. Two hundred and fifty-three elephants, predominantly 20-45 years old entered the community farming area, typically during the crop- ripening season. Eighty percent of the elephants that approached the trial farms were kept out of the areas protected by the beehive fences, and elephants that broke a fence were in smaller than average groups. Beehive fences not only kept large groups of elephants from invading the farmland plots but the farmers also benefited socially and financially from the sale of 228 kg of elephant-friendly honey. As news of the success of the trial spread, a further 12 farmers requested to join the project, bringing the number of beehive fence protected farms to 22 and beehives to 297. This demonstrates positive adoption of beehive fences as a community mitigation tool. Understanding the response of elephants to the beehive fences, the seasonality of crop raiding and fence breaking, and the

  3. Dating Studies of Elephant Tusks Using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

    SciTech Connect

    Sideras-Haddad, E; Brown, T A

    2002-10-03

    A new method for determining the year of birth, the year of death, and hence, the age at death, of post-bomb and recently deceased elephants has been developed. The technique is based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry radiocarbon analyses of small-sized samples extracted from along the length of a ge-line of an elephant tusk. The measured radiocarbon concentrations in the samples from a tusk can be compared to the {sup 14}C atmospheric bomb-pulse curve to derive the growth years of the initial and final samples from the tusk. Initial data from the application of this method to two tusks will be presented. Potentially, the method may play a significant role in wildlife management practices of African national parks. Additionally, the method may contribute to the underpinnings of efforts to define new international trade regulations, which could, in effect, decrease poaching and the killing of very young animals.

  4. Northern elephant seal field bioacoustics and aerial auditory masked hearing thresholds in three pinnipeds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Southall, Brandon Lee

    This dissertation comprises four interrelated studies on acoustic communication (including both signal production and signal reception) in pinnipeds, primarily northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). Field measurements of vocalization parameters were obtained in elephant seal breeding rookeries. Additionally, auditory masking experiments were conducted with individuals representing three pinniped species, including a northern elephant seal. This study quantified how aerial noise masks aerial hearing and provided preliminary data on auditory frequency filtering. All of these studies were conducted in air for a variety of practical and theoretical reasons. Some governmental, media, and research organizations have recently become concerned with the impacts of underwater anthropogenic noise on aquatic animals. However, little consideration has been given to the dual pressures imposed by aerial and underwater noise on amphibious marine mammals such as the pinnipeds. This dissertation sought to provide some basic data bearing on this matter by investigating aerial signals and aerial masked hearing. Data were obtained on aerial vocalization source levels, signal directivity patterns, natural aerial ambient noise, signal propagation properties, multi-modal aspects of signaling, motivation-specific signal variability, aerial critical masking ratios, and auditory filter bandwidths. The results indicate that different signal components may be more readily detectable in variable noise conditions, frequency resolution likely affects detection ranges, developmental and motivational factors affect signal parameters, and that some pinnipeds apparently detect signals over masking noise relatively well both in air and water. Using the northern elephant seal as a representative model, a model for quantifying constraints on vocal communication was developed to provide first-order predictions about detection ranges for signals in variable noise conditions.

  5. Reinforcement of Infant Vocalizations through Contingent Vocal Imitation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pelaez, Martha; Virues-Ortega, Javier; Gewirtz, Jacob L.

    2011-01-01

    Maternal vocal imitation of infant vocalizations is highly prevalent during face-to-face interactions of infants and their caregivers. Although maternal vocal imitation has been associated with later verbal development, its potentially reinforcing effect on infant vocalizations has not been explored experimentally. This study examined the…

  6. Long-Term Monitoring of Dzanga Bai Forest Elephants: Forest Clearing Use Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Turkalo, Andrea K.; Wrege, Peter H.; Wittemyer, George

    2013-01-01

    Individual identification of the relatively cryptic forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) at forest clearings currently provides the highest quality monitoring data on this ecologically important but increasingly threatened species. Here we present baseline data from the first 20 years of an individually based study of this species, conducted at the Dzanga Clearing, Central African Republic. A total of 3,128 elephants were identified over the 20-year study (1,244 adults; 675 females, 569 males). It took approximately four years for the majority of elephants visiting the clearing to be identified, but new elephants entered the clearing every year of the study. The study population was relatively stable, varying from 1,668 to 1,864 individuals (including juveniles and infants), with increasingly fewer males than females over time. The age-class distribution for females remained qualitatively unchanged between 1995 and 2010, while the proportion of adult males decreased from 20% to 10%, likely reflecting increased mortality. Visitation patterns by individuals were highly variable, with some elephants visiting monthly while others were ephemeral users with visits separated by multiple years. The number of individuals in the clearing at any time varied between 40 and 100 individuals, and there was little evidence of a seasonal pattern in this variation. The number of elephants entering the clearing together (defined here as a social group) averaged 1.49 (range 1–12) for males and 2.67 (range 1–14) for females. This collation of 20 years of intensive forest elephant monitoring provides the first detailed, long term look at the ecology of bai visitation for this species, offering insight to the ecological significance and motivation for bai use, social behavior, and threats to forest elephants. We discuss likely drivers (rainfall, compression, illegal killing, etc.) influencing bai visitation rates. This study provides the baseline for future demographic and behavioral

  7. Simultaneous Visual Discrimination in Asian Elephants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nissani, Moti; Hoefler-Nissani, Donna; Lay, U. Tin; Htun, U. Wan

    2005-01-01

    Two experiments explored the behavior of 20 Asian elephants ("Elephas aximus") in simultaneous visual discrimination tasks. In Experiment 1, 7 Burmese logging elephants acquired a white+/black- discrimination, reaching criterion in a mean of 2.6 sessions and 117 discrete trials, whereas 4 elephants acquired a black+/white- discrimination in 5.3…

  8. Evolution of Courtship Songs in Xenopus : Vocal Pattern Generation and Sound Production.

    PubMed

    Leininger, Elizabeth C; Kelley, Darcy B

    2015-01-01

    The extant species of African clawed frogs (Xenopus and Silurana) provide an opportunity to link the evolution of vocal characters to changes in the responsible cellular and molecular mechanisms. In this review, we integrate several robust lines of research: evolutionary trajectories of Xenopus vocalizations, cellular and circuit-level mechanisms of vocalization in selected Xenopus model species, and Xenopus evolutionary history and speciation mechanisms. Integrating recent findings allows us to generate and test specific hypotheses about the evolution of Xenopus vocal circuits. We propose that reduced vocal sex differences in some Xenopus species result from species-specific losses of sexually differentiated neural and neuromuscular features. Modification of sex-hormone-regulated developmental mechanisms is a strong candidate mechanism for reduced vocal sex differences.

  9. Elephants, fire, and frost can determine community structure and composition in Kalahari Woodlands.

    PubMed

    Holdo, Ricardo M

    2007-03-01

    Fire, elephants, and frost are important disturbance factors in many African savannas, but the relative magnitude of their effects on vegetation and their interactions have not been quantified. Understanding how disturbance shapes savanna structure and composition is critical for predicting changes in tree cover and for formulating management and conservation policy. A simulation model was used to investigate how the disturbance regime determines vegetation structure and composition in a mixed Kalahari sand woodland savanna in western Zimbabwe. The model consisted of submodels for tree growth, tree damage caused by disturbance, mortality, and recruitment that were parameterized from field data collected over a two-year period. The model predicts that, under the current disturbance regime, tree basal area in the study area will decline by two-thirds over the next two decades and become dominated by species unpalatable to elephants. Changes in the disturbance regime are predicted to greatly modify vegetation structure and community composition. Elephants are the primary drivers of woodland change in this community at present-day population densities, and their impacts are exacerbated by the effects of fire and frost. Frost, in particular, does not play an important role when acting independently but appears to be a key secondary factor in the presence of elephants and/or fire. Unlike fire and frost, which cannot suppress the woodland phase on their own in this ecosystem, elephants can independently drive the vegetation to the scrub phase. The results suggest that elephant and fire management may be critical for the persistence of certain woodland communities within dry-season elephant habitats in the eastern Kalahari, particularly those dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis and other palatable species.

  10. Home Range and Ranging Behaviour of Bornean Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) Females

    PubMed Central

    Alfred, Raymond; Ahmad, Abd Hamid; Payne, Junaidi; Williams, Christy; Ambu, Laurentius Nayan; How, Phua Mui; Goossens, Benoit

    2012-01-01

    Background Home range is defined as the extent and location of the area covered annually by a wild animal in its natural habitat. Studies of African and Indian elephants in landscapes of largely open habitats have indicated that the sizes of the home range are determined not only by the food supplies and seasonal changes, but also by numerous other factors including availability of water sources, habitat loss and the existence of man-made barriers. The home range size for the Bornean elephant had never been investigated before. Methodology/Principal Findings The first satellite tracking program to investigate the movement of wild Bornean elephants in Sabah was initiated in 2005. Five adult female elephants were immobilized and neck collars were fitted with tracking devices. The sizes of their home range and movement patterns were determined using location data gathered from a satellite tracking system and analyzed by using the Minimum Convex Polygon and Harmonic Mean methods. Home range size was estimated to be 250 to 400 km2 in a non-fragmented forest and 600 km2 in a fragmented forest. The ranging behavior was influenced by the size of the natural forest habitat and the availability of permanent water sources. The movement pattern was influenced by human disturbance and the need to move from one feeding site to another. Conclusions/Significance Home range and movement rate were influenced by the degree of habitat fragmentation. Once habitat was cleared or converted, the availability of food plants and water sources were reduced, forcing the elephants to travel to adjacent forest areas. Therefore movement rate in fragmented forest was higher than in the non-fragmented forest. Finally, in fragmented habitat human and elephant conflict occurrences were likely to be higher, due to increased movement bringing elephants into contact more often with humans. PMID:22347469

  11. Roadless wilderness area determines forest elephant movements in the Congo Basin.

    PubMed

    Blake, Stephen; Deem, Sharon L; Strindberg, Samantha; Maisels, Fiona; Momont, Ludovic; Isia, Inogwabini-Bila; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Karesh, William B; Kock, Michael D

    2008-01-01

    A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species. Though our study sites included the largest wilderness areas in central African forests, none of 4 home range metrics we calculated, including core area, tended toward an asymptote with increasing wilderness size, suggesting that uninhibited ranging in forest elephants no longer exists. Furthermore we show that roads outside protected areas which are not protected from hunting are a formidable barrier to movement while roads inside protected areas are not. Only 1 elephant from our sample crossed an unprotected road. During crossings her mean speed increased 14-fold compared to normal movements. Forest elephants are increasingly confined and constrained by roads across the Congo Basin which is reducing effective habitat availability and isolating populations, significantly threatening long term conservation efforts. If the current road development trajectory continues, forest wildernesses and the forest elephants they contain will collapse.

  12. Roadless Wilderness Area Determines Forest Elephant Movements in the Congo Basin

    PubMed Central

    Blake, Stephen; Deem, Sharon L.; Strindberg, Samantha; Maisels, Fiona; Momont, Ludovic; Isia, Inogwabini-Bila; Douglas-Hamilton, Iain; Karesh, William B.; Kock, Michael D.

    2008-01-01

    A dramatic expansion of road building is underway in the Congo Basin fuelled by private enterprise, international aid, and government aspirations. Among the great wilderness areas on earth, the Congo Basin is outstanding for its high biodiversity, particularly mobile megafauna including forest elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis). The abundance of many mammal species in the Basin increases with distance from roads due to hunting pressure, but the impacts of road proliferation on the movements of individuals are unknown. We investigated the ranging behaviour of forest elephants in relation to roads and roadless wilderness by fitting GPS telemetry collars onto a sample of 28 forest elephants living in six priority conservation areas. We show that the size of roadless wilderness is a strong determinant of home range size in this species. Though our study sites included the largest wilderness areas in central African forests, none of 4 home range metrics we calculated, including core area, tended toward an asymptote with increasing wilderness size, suggesting that uninhibited ranging in forest elephants no longer exists. Furthermore we show that roads outside protected areas which are not protected from hunting are a formidable barrier to movement while roads inside protected areas are not. Only 1 elephant from our sample crossed an unprotected road. During crossings her mean speed increased 14-fold compared to normal movements. Forest elephants are increasingly confined and constrained by roads across the Congo Basin which is reducing effective habitat availability and isolating populations, significantly threatening long term conservation efforts. If the current road development trajectory continues, forest wildernesses and the forest elephants they contain will collapse. PMID:18958284

  13. Unmanned aerial survey of elephants.

    PubMed

    Vermeulen, Cédric; Lejeune, Philippe; Lisein, Jonathan; Sawadogo, Prosper; Bouché, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km(2) with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys.

  14. Unmanned Aerial Survey of Elephants

    PubMed Central

    Vermeulen, Cédric; Lejeune, Philippe; Lisein, Jonathan; Sawadogo, Prosper; Bouché, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The use of a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) was tested to survey large mammals in the Nazinga Game Ranch in the south of Burkina Faso. The Gatewing ×100™ equipped with a Ricoh GR III camera was used to test animal reaction as the UAS passed, and visibility on the images. No reaction was recorded as the UAS passed at a height of 100 m. Observations, made on a set of more than 7000 images, revealed that only elephants (Loxodonta africana) were easily visible while medium and small sized mammals were not. The easy observation of elephants allows experts to enumerate them on images acquired at a height of 100 m. We, therefore, implemented an aerial strip sample count along transects used for the annual wildlife foot count. A total of 34 elephants were recorded on 4 transects, each overflown twice. The elephant density was estimated at 2.47 elephants/km2 with a coefficient of variation (CV%) of 36.10%. The main drawback of our UAS was its low autonomy (45 min). Increased endurance of small UAS is required to replace manned aircraft survey of large areas (about 1000 km of transect per day vs 40 km for our UAS). The monitoring strategy should be adapted according to the sampling plan. Also, the UAS is as expensive as a second-hand light aircraft. However the logistic and flight implementation are easier, the running costs are lower and its use is safer. Technological evolution will make civil UAS more efficient, allowing them to compete with light aircraft for aerial wildlife surveys. PMID:23405088

  15. Proboscidean mitogenomics: chronology and mode of elephant evolution using mastodon as outgroup.

    PubMed

    Rohland, Nadin; Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Pollack, Joshua L; Slatkin, Montgomery; Matheus, Paul; Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-08-01

    We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct American mastodon (Mammut americanum) from an Alaskan fossil that is between 50,000 and 130,000 y old, extending the age range of genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle. The sequence we obtained is substantially different from previously reported partial mastodon mitochondrial DNA sequences. By comparing those partial sequences to other proboscidean sequences, we conclude that we have obtained the first sequence of mastodon DNA ever reported. Using the sequence of the mastodon, which diverged 24-28 million years ago (mya) from the Elephantidae lineage, as an outgroup, we infer that the ancestors of African elephants diverged from the lineage leading to mammoths and Asian elephants approximately 7.6 mya and that mammoths and Asian elephants diverged approximately 6.7 mya. We also conclude that the nuclear genomes of the African savannah and forest elephants diverged approximately 4.0 mya, supporting the view that these two groups represent different species. Finally, we found the mitochondrial mutation rate of proboscideans to be roughly half of the rate in primates during at least the last 24 million years.

  16. Proboscidean Mitogenomics: Chronology and Mode of Elephant Evolution Using Mastodon as Outgroup

    PubMed Central

    Pollack, Joshua L; Slatkin, Montgomery; Matheus, Paul; Hofreiter, Michael

    2007-01-01

    We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct American mastodon (Mammut americanum) from an Alaskan fossil that is between 50,000 and 130,000 y old, extending the age range of genomic analyses by almost a complete glacial cycle. The sequence we obtained is substantially different from previously reported partial mastodon mitochondrial DNA sequences. By comparing those partial sequences to other proboscidean sequences, we conclude that we have obtained the first sequence of mastodon DNA ever reported. Using the sequence of the mastodon, which diverged 24–28 million years ago (mya) from the Elephantidae lineage, as an outgroup, we infer that the ancestors of African elephants diverged from the lineage leading to mammoths and Asian elephants approximately 7.6 mya and that mammoths and Asian elephants diverged approximately 6.7 mya. We also conclude that the nuclear genomes of the African savannah and forest elephants diverged approximately 4.0 mya, supporting the view that these two groups represent different species. Finally, we found the mitochondrial mutation rate of proboscideans to be roughly half of the rate in primates during at least the last 24 million years. PMID:17676977

  17. Generalized Vocal Imitation in Infants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Poulson, Claire L.; And Others

    1991-01-01

    Describes a study of three infants whose parents presented vocal models for the infants to imitate. Parents presented vocal models both with and without social praise. Infants showed systematic increases in matching after praise was introduced. Nonmatching vocalizations did not increase with introduction of praise. Findings demonstrate generalized…

  18. Do male northern elephant seals recognize individuals or merely relative dominance rank?

    PubMed

    Insley, Stephen J; Holt, Marla M

    2012-01-01

    Vocal recognition was tested in a socially dynamic context where many individuals interact: the female defense polygyny practiced by male northern elephant seals. The goal was to tease apart whether animals recognize other individuals or instead use a simple rule-based category (i.e., relative dominance rank). A total of 67 playback experiments conducted with 18 males at Año Nuevo State Reserve, California, tested three aspects of recognition: (1) recognition of relative rank; (2) whether such recognition was continuous or categorical; and (3) recognition of familiarity. Results indicate that males recognize familiar individuals although responses are primarily based on relative dominance rank.

  19. HH jets aligned perpendicular to elephant trunks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raga, A. C.; Lora, V.; Smith, N.

    2010-04-01

    We consider a system of outflows ejected from low mass young stars embedded in the tips of elephant trunks. We assume that these outflows have axes which are intrinsically perpendicular to the axes of the host elephant trunks. We then derive the distribution function expected for the angle between the projections of the outflow and elephant trunk axes on the plane of the sky. These distribution functions are useful for interpreting the alignments (or lack thereof) observed between HH outflow and elephant trunk axes in photoionized regions.

  20. On Vocal Registers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hollien, Harry

    A vocal register is a series or range of consecutive frequencies that can be produced with nearly identical voice quality. On the basis of research three fundamental registers can be defined and described: pulse, a low range of phonation; modal, a middle or "normal" range; and loft, a high range, described by some as falsetto. These…

  1. Infant Vocal Development.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hursh, Daniel E.

    In Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior, three categories of environmental control over instances of verbal behavior appear to be relevant to the study of infant vocal development: the mand, the tact, and the echoic categories. Procedures used in the remediation of language deficiencies and procedures found in work in the area of language…

  2. Skeletal pathology and variable anatomy in elephant feet assessed using computed tomography

    PubMed Central

    Dixon, Jonathon J.I.; Warren-Smith, Chris; Hutchinson, John R.; Weller, Renate

    2017-01-01

    Foot problems are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in elephants, but are underreported due to difficulties in diagnosis, particularly of conditions affecting the bones and internal structures. Here we evaluate post-mortem computer tomographic (CT) scans of 52 feet from 21 elephants (seven African Loxodonta africana and 14 Asian Elephas maximus), describing both pathology and variant anatomy (including the appearance of phalangeal and sesamoid bones) that could be mistaken for disease. We found all the elephants in our study to have pathology of some type in at least one foot. The most common pathological changes observed were bone remodelling, enthesopathy, osseous cyst-like lesions, and osteoarthritis, with soft tissue mineralisation, osteitis, infectious osteoarthriti, subluxation, fracture and enostoses observed less frequently. Most feet had multiple categories of pathological change (81% with two or more diagnoses, versus 10% with a single diagnosis, and 9% without significant pathology). Much of the pathological change was focused over the middle/lateral digits, which bear most weight and experience high peak pressures during walking. We found remodelling and osteoarthritis to be correlated with increasing age, more enthesopathy in Asian elephants, and more cyst-like lesions in females. We also observed multipartite, missing and misshapen phalanges as common and apparently incidental findings. The proximal (paired) sesamoids can appear fused or absent, and the predigits (radial/tibial sesamoids) can be variably ossified, though are significantly more ossified in Asian elephants. Our study reinforces the need for regular examination and radiography of elephant feet to monitor for pathology and as a tool for improving welfare. PMID:28123909

  3. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Cheryl L; Mench, Joy A; Carlstead, Kathy; Hogan, Jennifer N

    2016-01-01

    Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people's views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos' mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant's zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare benchmarks to

  4. Dopaminergic Contributions to Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Lukas A.; Saravanan, Varun; Wood, Alynda N.; He, Li

    2016-01-01

    Although the brain relies on auditory information to calibrate vocal behavior, the neural substrates of vocal learning remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that lesions of the dopaminergic inputs to a basal ganglia nucleus in a songbird species (Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata var. domestica) greatly reduced the magnitude of vocal learning driven by disruptive auditory feedback in a negative reinforcement task. These lesions produced no measureable effects on the quality of vocal performance or the amount of song produced. Our results suggest that dopaminergic inputs to the basal ganglia selectively mediate reinforcement-driven vocal plasticity. In contrast, dopaminergic lesions produced no measurable effects on the birds' ability to restore song acoustics to baseline following the cessation of reinforcement training, suggesting that different forms of vocal plasticity may use different neural mechanisms. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT During skill learning, the brain relies on sensory feedback to improve motor performance. However, the neural basis of sensorimotor learning is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in regulating vocal learning in the Bengalese finch, a songbird with an extremely precise singing behavior that can nevertheless be reshaped dramatically by auditory feedback. Our findings show that reduction of dopamine inputs to a region of the songbird basal ganglia greatly impairs vocal learning but has no detectable effect on vocal performance. These results suggest a specific role for dopamine in regulating vocal plasticity. PMID:26888928

  5. The distribution, density and three-dimensional histomorphology of Pacinian corpuscles in the foot of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and their potential role in seismic communication.

    PubMed

    Bouley, D M; Alarcón, C N; Hildebrandt, T; O'Connell-Rodwell, C E

    2007-10-01

    Both Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants produce low-frequency, high-amplitude rumbles that travel well through the ground as seismic waves, and field studies have shown that elephants may utilize these seismic signals as one form of communication. Unique elephant postures observed in field studies suggest that the elephants use their feet to 'listen' to these seismic signals, but the exact sensory mechanisms used by the elephant have never been characterized. The distribution, morphology and tissue density of Pacinian corpuscles, specialized mechanoreceptors, were studied in a forefoot and hindfoot of Asian elephants. Pacinian corpuscles were located in the dermis and distal digital cushion and were most densely localized to the anterior, posterior, medial and lateral region of each foot, with the highest numbers in the anterior region of the forefoot (52.19%) and the posterior region of the hindfoot (47.09%). Pacinian corpuscles were encapsulated, had a typical lamellar structure and were most often observed in large clusters. Three-dimensional reconstruction through serial sections of the dermis revealed that individual Pacinian corpuscles may be part of a cluster. By studying the distribution and density of these mechanoreceptors, we propose that Pacinian corpuscles are one possible anatomic mechanism used by elephants to detect seismic waves.

  6. The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing since 1880

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Myers, David Gershom

    2006-01-01

    When Vladimir Nabokov was up for a chair in literature at Harvard, the linguist Roman Jakobson protested: "What's next? Shall we appoint elephants to teach zoology?" That anecdote, with which D. G. Myers begins "The Elephants Teach", perfectly frames the issues this book tackles. Myers explores more than a century of debate over how writing should…

  7. Elephant transcriptome provides insights into the evolution of eutherian placentation.

    PubMed

    Hou, Zhuo-Cheng; Sterner, Kirstin N; Romero, Roberto; Than, Nandor Gabor; Gonzalez, Juan M; Weckle, Amy; Xing, Jun; Benirschke, Kurt; Goodman, Morris; Wildman, Derek E

    2012-01-01

    The chorioallantoic placenta connects mother and fetus in eutherian pregnancies. In order to understand the evolution of the placenta and provide further understanding of placenta biology, we sequenced the transcriptome of a term placenta of an African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and compared these data with RNA sequence and microarray data from other eutherian placentas including human, mouse, and cow. We characterized the composition of 55,910 expressed sequence tag (i.e., cDNA) contigs using our custom annotation pipeline. A Markov algorithm was used to cluster orthologs of human, mouse, cow, and elephant placenta transcripts. We found 2,963 genes are commonly expressed in the placentas of these eutherian mammals. Gene ontology categories previously suggested to be important for placenta function (e.g., estrogen receptor signaling pathway, cell motion and migration, and adherens junctions) were significantly enriched in these eutherian placenta-expressed genes. Genes duplicated in different lineages and also specifically expressed in the placenta contribute to the great diversity observed in mammalian placenta anatomy. We identified 1,365 human lineage-specific, 1,235 mouse lineage-specific, 436 cow lineage-specific, and 904 elephant-specific placenta-expressed (PE) genes. The most enriched clusters of human-specific PE genes are signal/glycoprotein and immunoglobulin, and humans possess a deeply invasive human hemochorial placenta that comes into direct contact with maternal immune cells. Inference of phylogenetically conserved and derived transcripts demonstrates the power of comparative transcriptomics to trace placenta evolution and variation across mammals and identified candidate genes that may be important in the normal function of the human placenta, and their dysfunction may be related to human pregnancy complications.

  8. Improvisation in West African Musics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Locke, David

    1980-01-01

    Discussed is music of the sub-Sahara. Vocal, instrumental, and dance drumming from the Sudan Desert, the North Coast, East Horn, Central and West Africa, and contrapuntal yodeling of Pygmies is described. For African musicians, the ability to improvise, and creativity, are gifts from God. Includes selected readings and recordings. (KC)

  9. Vocalizations of the Kittlitz's Murrelet

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    van Pelt, Thomas I.; Piatt, J.F.; Van Vliet, Gus B.

    1999-01-01

    We present the first documentation of Kittlitz's Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) vocalizations, based on recordings made in Glacier Bay, Alaska, in 1994. We identified two apparently related types of calls: groan and quack. The Kittlitz's Murrelet calls were markedly different from the most common calls of the congeneric Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), but shared characteristics with the Marbled Murrelet's less common 'groan' call. Phylogeny, breeding biology, and habitat characteristics may explain relationships between the congeneric vocalizations. More complete knowledge of the Kittlitz's Murrelet vocal repertoire is needed before vocalizations can be either used or discarded in the design of effective programs to monitor this rare and poorly-known species.

  10. Automated detection of elephants in wildlife video.

    PubMed

    Zeppelzauer, Matthias

    2013-08-01

    Biologists often have to investigate large amounts of video in behavioral studies of animals. These videos are usually not sufficiently indexed which makes the finding of objects of interest a time-consuming task. We propose a fully automated method for the detection and tracking of elephants in wildlife video which has been collected by biologists in the field. The method dynamically learns a color model of elephants from a few training images. Based on the color model, we localize elephants in video sequences with different backgrounds and lighting conditions. We exploit temporal clues from the video to improve the robustness of the approach and to obtain spatial and temporal consistent detections. The proposed method detects elephants (and groups of elephants) of different sizes and poses performing different activities. The method is robust to occlusions (e.g., by vegetation) and correctly handles camera motion and different lighting conditions. Experiments show that both near- and far-distant elephants can be detected and tracked reliably. The proposed method enables biologists efficient and direct access to their video collections which facilitates further behavioral and ecological studies. The method does not make hard constraints on the species of elephants themselves and is thus easily adaptable to other animal species.

  11. Automated detection of elephants in wildlife video

    PubMed Central

    Zeppelzauer, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    Biologists often have to investigate large amounts of video in behavioral studies of animals. These videos are usually not sufficiently indexed which makes the finding of objects of interest a time-consuming task. We propose a fully automated method for the detection and tracking of elephants in wildlife video which has been collected by biologists in the field. The method dynamically learns a color model of elephants from a few training images. Based on the color model, we localize elephants in video sequences with different backgrounds and lighting conditions. We exploit temporal clues from the video to improve the robustness of the approach and to obtain spatial and temporal consistent detections. The proposed method detects elephants (and groups of elephants) of different sizes and poses performing different activities. The method is robust to occlusions (e.g., by vegetation) and correctly handles camera motion and different lighting conditions. Experiments show that both near- and far-distant elephants can be detected and tracked reliably. The proposed method enables biologists efficient and direct access to their video collections which facilitates further behavioral and ecological studies. The method does not make hard constraints on the species of elephants themselves and is thus easily adaptable to other animal species. PMID:25902006

  12. How should the psychological well-being of zoo elephants be objectively investigated?

    PubMed

    Mason, Georgia J; Veasey, Jake S

    2010-01-01

    Animal welfare (sometimes termed "well-being") is about feelings - states such as "suffering" or "contentment" that we can infer but cannot measure directly. Welfare indices have been developed from two main sources: studies of suffering humans, and of research animals deliberately subjected to challenges known to affect emotional state. We briefly review the resulting indices here, and discuss how well they are understood for elephants, since objective welfare assessment should play a central role in evidence-based elephant management. We cover behavioral and cognitive responses (approach/avoidance; intention, redirected and displacement activities; vigilance/startle; warning signals; cognitive biases, apathy and depression-like changes; stereotypic behavior); physiological responses (sympathetic responses; corticosteroid output - often assayed non-invasively via urine, feces or even hair; other aspects of HPA function, e.g. adrenal hypertrophy); and the potential negative effects of prolonged stress on reproduction (e.g. reduced gametogenesis; low libido; elevated still-birth rates; poor maternal care) and health (e.g. poor wound-healing; enhanced disease rates; shortened lifespans). The best validated, most used welfare indices for elephants are corticosteroid outputs and stereotypic behavior. Indices suggested as valid, partially validated, and/or validated but not yet applied within zoos include: measures of preference/avoidance; displacement movements; vocal/postural signals of affective (emotional) state; startle/vigilance; apathy; salivary and urinary epinephrine; female acyclity; infant mortality rates; skin/foot infections; cardio-vascular disease; and premature adult death. Potentially useful indices that have not yet attracted any validation work in elephants include: operant responding and place preference tests; intention and vacuum movements; fear/stress pheromone release; cognitive biases; heart rate, pupil dilation and blood pressure

  13. Genes and Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    White, Stephanie A.

    2009-01-01

    Could a mutation in a single gene be the evolutionary lynchpin supporting the development of human language? A rare mutation in the molecule known as FOXP2 discovered in a human family seemed to suggest so, and its sequence phylogeny reinforced a Chomskian view that language emerged wholesale in humans. Spurred by this discovery, research in primates, rodents and birds suggests that FoxP2 and other language-related genes are interactors in the neuromolecular networks that underlie subsystems of language, such symbolic understanding, vocal learning and theory of mind. The whole picture will only come together through comparative and integrative study into how the human language singularity evolved. PMID:19913899

  14. New evidence for hybrid zones of forest and savanna elephants in Central and West Africa.

    PubMed

    Mondol, Samrat; Moltke, Ida; Hart, John; Keigwin, Michael; Brown, Lisa; Stephens, Matthew; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-12-01

    The African elephant consists of forest and savanna subspecies. Both subspecies are highly endangered due to severe poaching and habitat loss, and knowledge of their population structure is vital to their conservation. Previous studies have demonstrated marked genetic and morphological differences between forest and savanna elephants, and despite extensive sampling, genetic evidence of hybridization between them has been restricted largely to a few hybrids in the Garamba region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here, we present new genetic data on hybridization from previously unsampled areas of Africa. Novel statistical methods applied to these data identify 46 hybrid samples--many more than have been previously identified--only two of which are from the Garamba region. The remaining 44 are from three other geographically distinct locations: a major hybrid zone along the border of the DRC and Uganda, a second potential hybrid zone in Central African Republic and a smaller fraction of hybrids in the Pendjari-Arli complex of West Africa. Most of the hybrids show evidence of interbreeding over more than one generation, demonstrating that hybrids are fertile. Mitochondrial and Y chromosome data demonstrate that the hybridization is bidirectional, involving males and females from both subspecies. We hypothesize that the hybrid zones may have been facilitated by poaching and habitat modification. The localized geography and rarity of hybrid zones, their possible facilitation from human pressures, and the high divergence and genetic distinctness of forest and savanna elephants throughout their ranges, are consistent with calls for separate species classification.

  15. Detusking Fence-Breaker Elephants as an Approach in Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation

    PubMed Central

    Mutinda, Matthew; Chenge, Geoffrey; Gakuya, Francis; Otiende, Moses; Omondi, Patrick; Kasiki, Samuel; Soriguer, Ramón C.; Alasaad, Samer

    2014-01-01

    Background Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a recurring problem that appears wherever the range of elephants and humans overlap. Different methods including the use of electric fences are used worldwide to mitigate this conflict. Nonetheless, elephants learn quickly that their tusks do not conduct electricity and use them to break down fences (fence-breakers). Methodology/Principal Findings In Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, destructive elephants (Loxodonta africana) were monitored between 2010 and 2013. The fence-breaking rate reached four incidents (fence-breaking) per elephant per 100 days. Ten bull males and 57 females were identified as fence-breakers. The bulls were involved in 85.07% and the females in 14.93% of incidents. The Kenya Wildlife Service approved detusking (partial cutting of tusks) in four of the 10 fence-breakers as a way of preventing them from breaking down fences, thereby mitigating HEC in the Conservancy. The result of the detusking was a drastic six-fold reduction in damage to fences (range: 1.67 to 14.5 times less fence-breaking) by the four worst fence-breaker elephants, because with trimmed tusks elephants lack the tools to break down fences. Detusking could not totally eliminate fence destruction because, despite lacking their tools, elephants can still destroy fences using their heads, bodies and trunks, albeit less effectively. On the other hand, apart from inherent aesthetic considerations, the detusking of elephants may have certain negative effects on factors such as elephants' social hierarchies, breeding, mate selection and their access to essential minerals and food. Conclusions Elephant detusking seems to be effective in drastically reducing fence-breaking incidents, nonetheless its negative effects on behaviour, access to food and its aesthetical consequences still need to be further studied and investigated. PMID:24614538

  16. When is a butterfly like an elephant?

    PubMed

    Kelly, D R

    1996-08-01

    The behaviours of organisms as diverse as elephants and butterflies are affected by pheromones with identical or similar structures. Recent developments in the molecular biology of pheromone detection suggest why.

  17. Determining Connections between the Daily Lives of Zoo Elephants and Their Welfare: An Epidemiological Approach

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Cheryl L.; Mench, Joy A.; Carlstead, Kathy; Hogan, Jennifer N.

    2016-01-01

    Concerns about animal welfare increasingly shape people’s views about the acceptability of keeping animals for food production, biomedical research, and in zoos. The field of animal welfare science has developed over the past 50 years as a method of investigating these concerns via research that assesses how living in human-controlled environments influences the behavior, health and affective states of animals. Initially, animal welfare research focused on animals in agricultural settings, but the field has expanded to zoos because good animal welfare is essential to zoos’ mission of promoting connections between animals and visitors and raising awareness of conservation issues. A particular challenge for zoos is ensuring good animal welfare for long-lived, highly social species like elephants. Our main goal in conducting an epidemiological study of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Elephas maximus) elephant welfare in 68 accredited North American zoos was to understand the prevalence of welfare indicators in the population and determine the aspects of an elephant’s zoo environment, social life and management that are most important to prevent and reduce a variety of welfare problems. In this overview, we provide a summary of the findings of the nine papers in the collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare with a focus on the life history, social, housing, and management factors found to be associated with particular aspects of elephant welfare, including the performance of abnormal behavior, foot and joint problems, recumbence, walking rates, and reproductive health issues. Social and management factors were found to be important for multiple indicators of welfare, while exhibit space was found to be less influential than expected. This body of work results from the largest prospective zoo-based animal welfare study conducted to date and sets in motion the process of using science-based welfare benchmarks

  18. Patch-occupancy models indicate human activity as major determinant of forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis seasonal distribution in an industrial corridor in Gabon

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Buij, R.; McShea, W.J.; Campbell, P.; Lee, M.E.; Dallmeier, F.; Guimondou, S.; Mackaga, L.; Guisseougou, N.; Mboumba, S.; Hines, J.E.; Nichols, J.D.; Alonso, A.

    2007-01-01

    The importance of human activity and ecological features in influencing African forest elephant ranging behaviour was investigated in the Rabi-Ndogo corridor of the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in southwest Gabon. Locations in a wide geographical area with a range of environmental variables were selected for patch-occupancy surveys using elephant dung to assess seasonal presence and absence of elephants. Patch-occupancy procedures allowed for covariate modelling evaluating hypotheses for both occupancy in relation to human activity and ecological features, and detection probability in relation to vegetation density. The best fitting models for old and fresh dung data sets indicate that (1) detection probability for elephant dung is negatively related to the relative density of the vegetation, and (2) human activity, such as presence and infrastructure, are more closely associated with elephant distribution patterns than are ecological features, such as the presence of wetlands and preferred fresh fruit. Our findings emphasize the sensitivity of elephants to human disturbance, in this case infrastructure development associated with gas and oil production. Patch-occupancy methodology offers a viable alternative to current transect protocols for monitoring programs with multiple covariates.

  19. Visual Cues Given by Humans Are Not Sufficient for Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) to Find Hidden Food

    PubMed Central

    Plotnik, Joshua M.; Pokorny, Jennifer J.; Keratimanochaya, Titiporn; Webb, Christine; Beronja, Hana F.; Hennessy, Alice; Hill, James; Hill, Virginia J.; Kiss, Rebecca; Maguire, Caitlin; Melville, Beckett L.; Morrison, Violet M. B.; Seecoomar, Dannah; Singer, Benjamin; Ukehaxhaj, Jehona; Vlahakis, Sophia K.; Ylli, Dora; Clayton, Nicola S.; Roberts, John; Fure, Emilie L.; Duchatelier, Alicia P.; Getz, David

    2013-01-01

    Recent research suggests that domesticated species – due to artificial selection by humans for specific, preferred behavioral traits – are better than wild animals at responding to visual cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. \\Although this seems to be supported by studies on a range of domesticated (including dogs, goats and horses) and wild (including wolves and chimpanzees) animals, there is also evidence that exposure to humans positively influences the ability of both wild and domesticated animals to follow these same cues. Here, we test the performance of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) on an object choice task that provides them with visual-only cues given by humans about the location of hidden food. Captive elephants are interesting candidates for investigating how both domestication and human exposure may impact cue-following as they represent a non-domesticated species with almost constant human interaction. As a group, the elephants (n = 7) in our study were unable to follow pointing, body orientation or a combination of both as honest signals of food location. They were, however, able to follow vocal commands with which they were already familiar in a novel context, suggesting the elephants are able to follow cues if they are sufficiently salient. Although the elephants’ inability to follow the visual cues provides partial support for the domestication hypothesis, an alternative explanation is that elephants may rely more heavily on other sensory modalities, specifically olfaction and audition. Further research will be needed to rule out this alternative explanation. PMID:23613804

  20. An investigation of extinction-induced vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Valentino, Amber L; Shillingsburg, M Alice; Call, Nathan A; Burton, Britney; Bowen, Crystal N

    2011-05-01

    Children with autism have significant communication delays. Although some children develop vocalizations through shaping and differential reinforcement, others rarely exhibit vocalizations, and alternative methods are targeted in intervention. However, vocal language often remains a goal for caregivers and clinicians. Thus, strategies to increase frequency of vocalizations are needed. In the present study, the authors examined the effect of extinction of previously acquired signed mands on vocalizations in three children diagnosed with autism. Experiment 1 examined the effects of differential reinforcement of vocalizations and extinction of signed mands combined. In Experiment 1, it was unknown whether the reinforcement of vocalizations alone could have produced the effects; therefore, Experiment 2 isolated the effects of reinforcement and extinction by reinforcing vocalizations in baseline. An increase in rate of vocalizations occurred following the application of extinction of signed mands and differential reinforcement of vocalizations in Experiment 1 and following extinction of signed mands in Experiment 2.

  1. Density as an explanatory variable of movements and calf survival in savanna elephants across southern Africa.

    PubMed

    Young, K D; Van Aarde, R J

    2010-05-01

    1. Southern Africa's 'elephant problem' is often attributed to an overabundance of elephants (Loxodonta africana) in conservation areas. Paradoxically, the African elephant is listed as 'vulnerable' (IUCN Redlist) despite occupying a large geographical range and numbering about 600 000. How densities influence elephant populations is therefore important for conservation management decisions, particularly because a move towards non-equilibrium management of savannas implies a need for elephant populations to fluctuate in response to variation in intrinsic (demographic) and extrinsic (resource) factors. 2. A study on one of the world's largest elephant populations demonstrated that population regulation is driven by a spatial response to water availability, environmental stochasticity and density. The challenge remains to identify the demographic and behavioural variables that drive density dependence. 3. We evaluated whether the movements of elephant family groups from 13 populations across a wide resource gradient were explained by variability in primary productivity, rainfall and population density. We then assessed whether density-related movements explained variability in juvenile survival, hence inferring a spatially driven behavioural mechanism that may explain density-dependent population growth. We also analysed whether management actions modified this mechanism. 4. In the dry season, daily-displacement distances (DDDs) increased non-linearly with density, and declined with increased vegetation productivity and previous wet season rainfall. In the wet season, DDDs were primarily explained by vegetation productivity. 5. The survival of weaned calves (4-7 years) decreased with increasing dry season DDDs, but this did not hold for suckling calves (1-3 years) or sub-adults (8-11 years). 6. Fences and supplementary water modified the shape and strength of relationships between DDDs and densities, vegetation productivity and rainfall and negated the relationships

  2. Physiologically driven avian vocal synthesizer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sitt, Jacobo D.; Arneodo, Ezequiel M.; Goller, Franz; Mindlin, Gabriel B.

    2010-03-01

    In this work, we build an electronic syrinx, i.e., a programmable electronic device capable of integrating biomechanical model equations for the avian vocal organ in order to synthesize song. This vocal prosthesis is controlled by the bird’s neural instructions to respiratory and the syringeal motor systems, thus opening great potential for studying motor control and its modification by sensory feedback mechanisms. Furthermore, a well-functioning subject-controlled vocal prosthesis can lay the foundation for similar devices in humans and thus provide directly health-related data and procedures.

  3. Walking Behavior of Zoo Elephants: Associations between GPS-Measured Daily Walking Distances and Environmental Factors, Social Factors, and Welfare Indicators

    PubMed Central

    Holdgate, Matthew R.; Meehan, Cheryl L.; Hogan, Jennifer N.; Miller, Lance J.; Soltis, Joseph; Andrews, Jeff; Shepherdson, David J.

    2016-01-01

    Research with humans and other animals suggests that walking benefits physical health. Perhaps because these links have been demonstrated in other species, it has been suggested that walking is important to elephant welfare, and that zoo elephant exhibits should be designed to allow for more walking. Our study is the first to address this suggestion empirically by measuring the mean daily walking distance of elephants in North American zoos, determining the factors that are associated with variations in walking distance, and testing for associations between walking and welfare indicators. We used anklets equipped with GPS data loggers to measure outdoor daily walking distance in 56 adult female African (n = 33) and Asian (n = 23) elephants housed in 30 North American zoos. We collected 259 days of data and determined associations between distance walked and social, housing, management, and demographic factors. Elephants walked an average of 5.3 km/day with no significant difference between species. In our multivariable model, more diverse feeding regimens were correlated with increased walking, and elephants who were fed on a temporally unpredictable feeding schedule walked 1.29 km/day more than elephants fed on a predictable schedule. Distance walked was also positively correlated with an increase in the number of social groupings and negatively correlated with age. We found a small but significant negative correlation between distance walked and nighttime Space Experience, but no other associations between walking distances and exhibit size were found. Finally, distance walked was not related to health or behavioral outcomes including foot health, joint health, body condition, and the performance of stereotypic behavior, suggesting that more research is necessary to determine explicitly how differences in walking may impact elephant welfare. PMID:27414411

  4. [Experimental vocal cord abduction impairment with an artificial vocal cord].

    PubMed

    Isozaki, Eiji; Tobisawa, Shinsuke; Nishizawa, Misato; Nakayama, Hideto; Fukui, Kotaro; Takanishi, Asuo

    2009-07-01

    Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) has recently been applied to the patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) with various respiratory complications including vocal cord abduction impairment and respiratory disturbance by the central origin. Any consensus guidelines on setting up the inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP) and expiratory one (EPAP), however, have not been raised yet. To investigate this problem, we made the upper airway tract model with moderately and severely narrow glottis using a training/test lung and the artificial vocal cord which was developed for a humanoid talking robot in Waseda University. The artificial vocal cord was molded out of a high performance thermoplastic rubber in imitation of the human larynx. Previous studies using with a high-speed camera and a sound analyzer showed that the artificial vocal cord resembled human larynx closely both morphologically and functionally. The opening and closing movements of the artificial vocal cord were observed fiberscopically under various conditions of IPAP (4-20 cmH2O) and EPAP (4-10 cmH2O). The maximal glottic width during inspiration and expiration were measured by a pair of calipers on the video-monitored display. Both of the moderately and the severely narrow artificial vocal cords without non-paralytic factors showed typical paradoxical movement showing adduction in inspiration and abduction in expiration, which is characteristic to vocal cord abductor impairment seen in MSA. In the model with moderately severe narrow glottis, this paradoxical movement was released under any positive pressures of continuous (CPAP) and bilevel (Bilevel PAP) modes. In the model with severely narrow glottis, however, there existed a threshold in setting up the optimal EPAP to release the paradoxical movement. In conclusion, EPAP-leading procedure seems to be preferable to IPAP-leading procedure to dilate the narrow glottis as a pneumatic splint in the managements of the patients with

  5. Investigating the seismic signal of elephants: using seismology to mitigate elephant human conflict

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webb, S. J.; Manzi, M.; Naidoo, A.; Raveloson, A.

    2015-12-01

    Human interactions with wild elephants are often a source of conflict, as elephants invade inhabited lands looking for sustenance. In order to mitigate these interactions, a number of elephant defense systems are under development. These include electric fences, bees and the playback of warning calls recorded from elephants. With the discovery that elephants use seismic signals to communicate (O'Connell-Rodwell et al., 2006, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol.), it is hoped that seismic signals can also be used to help reduce conflict. Our current research project investigates the spectral content of the elephant seismic signal that travels through the ground using a variety of geophones and seismometers. Our experimental setup used a Geometrics Geode 24 channel seismic system with an array of 24 geophones spaced 1 m apart in an area of compact soil overlying weathered granites. Initially we used 14 Hz vertical geophones. The ground and ambient noise conditions were characterized by recording several hammer shots. These were used to identify the air wave, wind noise, and the direct wave, which had a dominant frequency of ~50 Hz. Several trained elephants that 'rumble' on command were then deployed ~5 m perpendicular to a line of 24 (14 Hz) vertical geophones between the 1 and 10 m geophone positions. We recorded a number of different elephants and configurations, and digitally recorded video for comparison. An additional deployment of 20 (14 Hz) horizontal geophones was also used. For all data, the sample interval was 0.25 ms and the recording length was 16 s as the timing of the rumbles could not be precisely controlled. We were able to identify the airwave due to the elephant's rumble with velocities between 305-310 m/s and the ground seismic signal due to the rumble with frequencies between 20-30 Hz. Our next experiment will include broadband seismometers at a further distance, to more fully characterize the frequency content of the elephant signal.

  6. Prelinguistic Vocalizations Distinguish Pointing Acts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grunloh, Thomas; Liszkowski, Ulf

    2015-01-01

    The current study investigated whether point-accompanying characteristics, like vocalizations and hand shape, differentiate infants' underlying motives of prelinguistic pointing. We elicited imperative (requestive) and declarative (expressive and informative) pointing acts in experimentally controlled situations, and analyzed accompanying…

  7. Vocal Improvisation for Elementary Students.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thompson, Keith P.

    1980-01-01

    The author describes the three-phase process of musical creativity (exploratory, invention, organizational), identifying activities in each of the creative phases. Included are vocal impression, picture sounds, chord tones, and name improvisation. Selected readings and recordings are included. (KC)

  8. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection among Asian Elephants in Captivity

    PubMed Central

    Simpson, Gary; Zimmerman, Ralph; Shashkina, Elena; Chen, Liang; Richard, Michael; Bradford, Carol M.; Dragoo, Gwen A.; Saiers, Rhonda L.; Peloquin, Charles A.; Daley, Charles L.; Planet, Paul; Narachenia, Apurva; Mathema, Barun

    2017-01-01

    Although awareness of tuberculosis among captive elephants is increasing, antituberculosis therapy for these animals is not standardized. We describe Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission between captive elephants based on whole genome analysis and report a successful combination treatment. Infection control protocols and careful monitoring of treatment of captive elephants with tuberculosis are warranted. PMID:28221115

  9. Vocal output in preterm infants.

    PubMed

    Beckwith, L; Sigman, M; Cohen, S E; Parmelee, A H

    1977-11-01

    Data on vocal output of 51 preterm infants and 16 term infants were obtained during naturalistic home observations at 1, 3, and 8 months; during the administration of a preference-for-novelty paradigm in the laboratory at 8 months; and by the administration of the Gesell Developmental Schedules at 9 months. Preterm and term infant groups were found to show both similarities and differences: both groups vocalized a similar amount in the preference-for-novelty situation; both groups earned similar scores on the language subtest of the Gesell; both groups increased the percentage of awake time they spent in nondistress vocalization from 1 to 8 months. Term infants showed an earlier increase than did preterm infants: term infants significantly increased during the 1-3 month period, whereas preterm infants only increased significantly during the 3-8 month period. The developmental differences suggest a link between vocal output and perinatal conditions in that caregiver behavior was not found to be different among groups. Within the preterm groups, some relationships were found between vocal output and later test performance: infants who vocalized more during mutual gazing with the mother earned significantly higher scores on the language subtest of the Gesell.

  10. Consider a non-spherical elephant: computational fluid dynamics simulations of heat transfer coefficients and drag verified using wind tunnel experiments.

    PubMed

    Dudley, Peter N; Bonazza, Riccardo; Porter, Warren P

    2013-07-01

    Animal momentum and heat transfer analysis has historically used direct animal measurements or approximations to calculate drag and heat transfer coefficients. Research can now use modern 3D rendering and computational fluid dynamics software to simulate animal-fluid interactions. Key questions are the level of agreement between simulations and experiments and how superior they are to classical approximations. In this paper we compared experimental and simulated heat transfer and drag calculations on a scale model solid aluminum African elephant casting. We found good agreement between experimental and simulated data and large differences from classical approximations. We used the simulation results to calculate coefficients for heat transfer and drag of the elephant geometry.

  11. A programmable acoustic recording tag and first results from free-ranging northern elephant seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, W. C.; Tyack, P. L.; Le Boeuf, B. J.; Costa, D. P.

    A hydrophone-equipped tag recorded exposure to noise, as well as physiological and behavioral sounds, on free-ranging northern elephant seals ( Mirounga angustirostris). The compact acoustic probe (CAP) consisted of the hydrophone, a thermistor, and a pressure transducer in a 36 cm long, 10 cm diameter cylindrical hydrodynamic housing capable of withstanding 2000 m depth. The enclosed logging electronics included a programmable "TattleTale 7" data acquisition engine and a 340 Mb hard disk. A custom low-power operating system supported multi-channel interrupt-driven sampling at 5 kHz. The complete tag weighed 0.9 kg in water and displaced 2.1 l. During five deployments on juveniles translocated from and returning to Año Nuevo, California, CAP tags measured dive pattern, ambient and vessel noise exposure, oceanographic ranging (RAFOS) and thermometry (ATOC) beacons, acoustic signatures of swim stroke, surface respiration, and cardiac function, and possible vocalizations.

  12. Physical mapping of the elephant X chromosome: conservation of gene order over 105 million years.

    PubMed

    Delgado, Claudia Leticia Rodríguez; Waters, Paul D; Gilbert, Clément; Robinson, Terence J; Graves, Jennifer A Marshall

    2009-01-01

    All therian mammals (eutherians and marsupials) have an XX female/XY male sex chromosome system or some variant of it. The X and Y evolved from a homologous pair of autosomes over the 166 million years since therian mammals diverged from monotremes. Comparing the sex chromosomes of eutherians and marsupials defined an ancient X conserved region that is shared between species of these mammalian clades. However, the eutherian X (and the Y) was augmented by a recent addition (XAR) that is autosomal in marsupials. XAR is part of the X in primates, rodents, and artiodactyls (which belong to the eutherian clade Boreoeutheria), but it is uncertain whether XAR is part of the X chromosome in more distantly related eutherian mammals. Here we report on the gene content and order on the X of the elephant (Loxodonta africana)-a representative of Afrotheria, a basal endemic clade of African mammals-and compare these findings to those of other documented eutherian species. A total of 17 genes were mapped to the elephant X chromosome. Our results support the hypothesis that the eutherian X and Y chromosomes were augmented by the addition of autosomal material prior to eutherian radiation. Not only does the elephant X bear the same suite of genes as other eutherian X chromosomes, but gene order appears to have been maintained across 105 million years of evolution, perhaps reflecting strong constraints posed by the eutherian X inactivation system.

  13. What is the use of elephant hair?

    PubMed

    Myhrvold, Conor L; Stone, Howard A; Bou-Zeid, Elie

    2012-01-01

    The idea that low surface densities of hairs could be a heat loss mechanism is understood in engineering and has been postulated in some thermal studies of animals. However, its biological implications, both for thermoregulation as well as for the evolution of epidermal structures, have not yet been noted. Since early epidermal structures are poorly preserved in the fossil record, we study modern elephants to infer not only the heat transfer effect of present-day sparse hair, but also its potential evolutionary origins. Here we use a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches, and a range of hair densities determined from photographs, to test whether sparse hairs increase convective heat loss from elephant skin, thus serving an intentional evolutionary purpose. Our conclusion is that elephants are covered with hair that significantly enhances their thermoregulation ability by over 5% under all scenarios considered, and by up to 23% at low wind speeds where their thermoregulation needs are greatest. The broader biological significance of this finding suggests that maintaining a low-density hair cover can be evolutionary purposeful and beneficial, which is consistent with the fact that elephants have the greatest need for heat loss of any modern terrestrial animal because of their high body-volume to skin-surface ratio. Elephant hair is the first documented example in nature where increasing heat transfer due to a low hair density covering may be a desirable effect, and therefore raises the possibility of such a covering for similarly sized animals in the past. This elephant example dispels the widely-held assumption that in modern endotherms body hair functions exclusively as an insulator and could therefore be a first step to resolving the prior paradox of why hair was able to evolve in a world much warmer than our own.

  14. Sticky snack for sengis: The Cape rock elephant-shrew, Elephantulus edwardii (Macroscelidea), as a pollinator of the Pagoda lily, Whiteheadia bifolia (Hyacinthaceae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wester, Petra

    2010-12-01

    Following the recent discovery of rodent pollination in the Pagoda lily, Whiteheadia bifolia (Hyacinthaceae) in South Africa, now the Cape rock elephant-shrew, Elephantulus edwardii (Macroscelidea, Afrotheria) is reported as an additional pollinator. Elephant-shrews, live-trapped near W. bifolia plants, were released in two terraria, containing the plants. The animals licked nectar with their long and slender tongues while being dusted with pollen and touching the stigmas of the flowers with their long and flexible noses. The captured elephant-shrews had W. bifolia pollen in their faeces, likely as a result of grooming their fur as they visited the flowers without eating or destroying them. The animals mostly preferred nectar over other food. This is the first record of pollination and nectar consumption in the primarily insectivorous E. edwardii, contributing to the very sparse knowledge about the behaviour of this unique clade of African mammals, as well as pollination by small mammals.

  15. Vocal exercise may attenuate acute vocal fold inflammation

    PubMed Central

    Abbott, Katherine Verdolini; Li, Nicole Y.K.; Branski, Ryan C.; Rosen, Clark A.; Grillo, Elizabeth; Steinhauer, Kimberly; Hebda, Patricia A.

    2012-01-01

    Objectives/Hypotheses The objective was to assess the utility of selected “resonant voice” exercises for the reduction of acute vocal fold inflammation. The hypothesis was that relatively large-amplitude, low-impact exercises associated with resonant voice would reduce inflammation more than spontaneous speech and possibly more than voice rest. Study Design The study design was prospective, randomized, double-blind. Methods Nine vocally healthy adults underwent a 1-hr vocal loading procedure, followed by randomization to (a) a spontaneous speech condition, (b) a vocal rest condition, or (c) a resonant voice exercise condition. Treatments were monitored in clinic for 4 hr, and continued extra-clinically until the next morning. At baseline, immediately following loading, after the 4-hr in-clinic treatment, and 24 hr post baseline, secretions were suctioned from the vocal folds bilaterally and submitted to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to estimate concentrations of key markers of tissue injury and inflammation: IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, MMP-8, and IL-10. Results Complete data sets were obtained for 3 markers -- IL-1β, IL-6, and MMP-8 -- for one subject in each treatment condition. For those markers, results were poorest at 24-hr follow-up in the spontaneous speech condition, sharply improved in the voice rest condition, and best in the resonant voice condition. Average results for all markers, for all responsive subjects with normal baseline mediator concentrations, revealed an almost identical pattern. Conclusions Some forms of tissue mobilization may be useful to attenuate acute vocal fold inflammation. PMID:23177745

  16. Further diagnostic thoughts about the Elephant Man.

    PubMed

    Cohen, M M

    1988-04-01

    Further evidence for a diagnosis of the Elephant Man's condition is reviewed. It is known that the Elephant Man had "mocassin" lesions, hyperostoses of the skull, and absence of café-au-lait spots, all of which are characteristic of Proteus syndrome. Recently, questions have been raised about his skeletal findings and their relevance to neurofibromatosis. However, other skeletal diagnoses have been entertained, including Maffucci syndrome, Paget's disease of bone, pyarthrosis, and fibrous dysplasia. These diagnostic possibilities are discussed and evaluated critically. It is concluded that the skeletal findings are most consistent with Proteus syndrome and coincidental hip disease secondary to childhood trauma.

  17. The vocal monotony of monogamy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, Jeanette

    2003-04-01

    There are four phocids in waters around Antarctica: Weddell, leopard, crabeater, and Ross seals. These four species provide a unique opportunity to examine underwater vocal behavior in species sharing the same ecosystem. Some species live in pack ice, others in factice, but all are restricted to the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic islands. All breed and produce vocalizations under water. Social systems range from polygyny in large breeding colonies, to serial monogamy, to solitary species. The type of mating system influences the number of underwater vocalizations in the repertoire, with monogamous seals producing only a single call, polygynous species producing up to 35 calls, and solitary species an intermediate number of about 10 calls. Breeding occurs during the austral spring and each species carves-out an acoustic niche for communicating, with species using different frequency ranges, temporal patterns, and amplitude changes to convey their species-specific calls and presumably reduce acoustic competition. Some species exhibit geographic variations in their vocalizations around the continent, which may reflect discrete breeding populations. Some seals become silent during a vulnerable time of predation by killer whales, perhaps to avoid detection. Overall, vocalizations of these seals exhibit adaptive characteristics that reflect the co-evolution among species in the same ecosystem.

  18. Human cerebral response to animal affective vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Belin, Pascal; Fecteau, Shirley; Charest, Ian; Nicastro, Nicholas; Hauser, Marc D; Armony, Jorge L

    2008-03-07

    It is presently unknown whether our response to affective vocalizations is specific to those generated by humans or more universal, triggered by emotionally matched vocalizations generated by other species. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging in normal participants to measure cerebral activity during auditory stimulation with affectively valenced animal vocalizations, some familiar (cats) and others not (rhesus monkeys). Positively versus negatively valenced vocalizations from cats and monkeys elicited different cerebral responses despite the participants' inability to differentiate the valence of these animal vocalizations by overt behavioural responses. Moreover, the comparison with human non-speech affective vocalizations revealed a common response to the valence in orbitofrontal cortex, a key component on the limbic system. These findings suggest that the neural mechanisms involved in processing human affective vocalizations may be recruited by heterospecific affective vocalizations at an unconscious level, supporting claims of shared emotional systems across species.

  19. Harnessing vocal patterns for social communication.

    PubMed

    Sweeney, Lora B; Kelley, Darcy B

    2014-10-01

    Work on vocal communication, influenced by a drive to understand the evolution of language, has focused on auditory processing and forebrain control of learned vocalizations. The actual hindbrain neural mechanisms used to create communication signals are understudied, in part because of the difficulty of experimental studies in species that rely on respiration for vocalization. In these experimental systems-including those that embody vocal learning-vocal behaviors have rhythmic qualities. Recent studies using molecular markers and 'fictive' patterns produced by isolated brains are beginning to reveal how hindbrain circuits generate vocal patterns. Insights from central pattern generators for respiration and locomotion are illuminating common neural and developmental mechanisms. Choice of vocal patterns is responsive to socially salient input. Studies of the vertebrate social brain network suggest mechanisms used to integrate socially salient information and produce an appropriate vocal response.

  20. Monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready

    PubMed Central

    Fitch, W. Tecumseh; de Boer, Bart; Mathur, Neil; Ghazanfar, Asif A.

    2016-01-01

    For four decades, the inability of nonhuman primates to produce human speech sounds has been claimed to stem from limitations in their vocal tract anatomy, a conclusion based on plaster casts made from the vocal tract of a monkey cadaver. We used x-ray videos to quantify vocal tract dynamics in living macaques during vocalization, facial displays, and feeding. We demonstrate that the macaque vocal tract could easily produce an adequate range of speech sounds to support spoken language, showing that previous techniques based on postmortem samples drastically underestimated primate vocal capabilities. Our findings imply that the evolution of human speech capabilities required neural changes rather than modifications of vocal anatomy. Macaques have a speech-ready vocal tract but lack a speech-ready brain to control it. PMID:27957536

  1. Vocal development in a Waddington landscape

    PubMed Central

    Teramoto, Yayoi; Takahashi, Daniel Y; Holmes, Philip; Ghazanfar, Asif A

    2017-01-01

    Vocal development is the adaptive coordination of the vocal apparatus, muscles, the nervous system, and social interaction. Here, we use a quantitative framework based on optimal control theory and Waddington’s landscape metaphor to provide an integrated view of this process. With a biomechanical model of the marmoset monkey vocal apparatus and behavioral developmental data, we show that only the combination of the developing vocal tract, vocal apparatus muscles and nervous system can fully account for the patterns of vocal development. Together, these elements influence the shape of the monkeys’ vocal developmental landscape, tilting, rotating or shifting it in different ways. We can thus use this framework to make quantitative predictions regarding how interfering factors or experimental perturbations can change the landscape within a species, or to explain comparative differences in vocal development across species DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.20782.001 PMID:28092262

  2. Development of Social Vocalizations in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Grimsley, Jasmine M. S.; Monaghan, Jessica J. M.; Wenstrup, Jeffrey J.

    2011-01-01

    Adult mice are highly vocal animals, with both males and females vocalizing in same sex and cross sex social encounters. Mouse pups are also highly vocal, producing isolation vocalizations when they are cold or removed from the nest. This study examined patterns in the development of pup isolation vocalizations, and compared these to adult vocalizations. In three litters of CBA/CaJ mice, we recorded isolation vocalizations at ages postnatal day 5 (p5), p7, p9, p11, and p13. Adult vocalizations were obtained in a variety of social situations. Altogether, 28,384 discrete vocal signals were recorded using high-frequency-sensitive equipment and analyzed for syllable type, spectral and temporal features, and the temporal sequencing within bouts. We found that pups produced all but one of the 11 syllable types recorded from adults. The proportions of syllable types changed developmentally, but even the youngest pups produced complex syllables with frequency-time variations. When all syllable types were pooled together for analysis, changes in the peak frequency or the duration of syllables were small, although significant, from p5 through p13. However, individual syllable types showed different, large patterns of change over development, requiring analysis of each syllable type separately. Most adult syllables were substantially lower in frequency and shorter in duration. As pups aged, the complexity of vocal bouts increased, with a greater tendency to switch between syllable types. Vocal bouts from older animals, p13 and adult, had significantly more sequential structure than those from younger mice. Overall, these results demonstrate substantial changes in social vocalizations with age. Future studies are required to identify whether these changes result from developmental processes affecting the vocal tract or control of vocalization, or from vocal learning. To provide a tool for further research, we developed a MATLAB program that generates bouts of vocalizations

  3. The skull and mandible of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana).

    PubMed

    van der Merwe, N J; Bezuidenhout, A J; Seegers, C D

    1995-12-01

    In the present study the bones of the skull, excluding the hyoid apparatus, are described. All the bones are aerated by sinuses. In the occipital bone the squamous part is aerated from the sinus of the parietal bone, the lateral part is aerated from the tympanic bulla and the basal part from the sinus of the basisphenoid bone. Condylar foramens and hypoglossal canals are absent. A small interparietal bone is present at birth. At an early age it fuses with the surrounding cranial bones. The squamous part of the temporal bone lies sagittally in young animals, but moves progressively to a transverse plane as the animals age. A foramen lacerum is represented by jugular and oval foramens and the carotid canal. The body of the basisphenoid bone is excavated by the massive maxillary tuberosity. The latter extends to the oval foramen and contains the developing molar teeth. The ethmoturbinate, nasal and lacrimal bones are exceptionally small. In old bulls the palatine process of the incisive bones and their sinuses are gradually displaced by the palatine process of the maxillae.

  4. A Comprehensive Approach for Modelling Elephant Habitat within the Network of Protected Areas Oti-Keran-Mandouri in Togo (West Africa)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polo-Akpisso, A.; Coulibaly, M.; Soulemane, O.; Wala, K.; Tano, Y.

    2015-12-01

    The network of protected areas Oti-Keran-Mandouri (OKM) is part of one of the most important ecogeographical region for the African savannah elephant conservation in West Africa. However, OKM is under high anthropogenic pressure but it is still considered as a first priority corridor for elephant migration. Therefore a comprehensive suitability model was developed in a GIS environment to identify remaining suitable patch of habitat. Considering the ecology of the African Savannah elephant, criteria such as pound thickness, distance to rivers, distance to roads, distance to settlements, Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were standardized using appropriate fuzzy membership functions and sum overlaid. A set of elephant occurrence data from park managers and from casual sighting was used as test data. About 29.01 % of the area of OKM was classified as suitable habitat whereas 60.84 % and 10.14% were respectively considered as somewhat and less suitable habitats. About 36.5% of the occurrence data felt in the suitable area while 62.16% in the somewhat suitable area. Forest lands were the main contributor to the suitable habitat whereas others land cover types (savannahs, wetlands and croplands) contributed mostly to the somewhat suitable habitat (60.97% to 63.43%). The Habitat Unit Index (HUI) for suitable habitat shows that forests are the most preferred vegetation type (0.49) followed by wetlands (0.32) and savannah (0.31). Despite the high anthropogenic pressure on OKM, there are still potential suitable patches of elephant habitat. Improvement of management and restauration activities could enable OKM to play a key role in biodiversity conservation in West Africa by allowing the seasonal migration of elephants. This study gives an insight on the availability of suitable habitat within OKM, however, further investigation is needed to refine the model and to assess habitat fragmentation.

  5. An Investigation of Extinction-Induced Vocalizations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Valentino, Amber L.; Shillingsburg, M. Alice; Call, Nathan A.; Burton, Britney; Bowen, Crystal N.

    2011-01-01

    Children with autism have significant communication delays. Although some children develop vocalizations through shaping and differential reinforcement, others rarely exhibit vocalizations, and alternative methods are targeted in intervention. However, vocal language often remains a goal for caregivers and clinicians. Thus, strategies to increase…

  6. Effects of Social Games on Infant Vocalizations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hsu, Hui-Chin; Iyer, Suneeti Nathani; Fogel, Alan

    2014-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to examine the contextual effects of social games on prelinguistic vocalizations. The two main goals were to (1) investigate the functions of vocalizations as symptoms of affective arousal and symbols of social understanding, and (2) explore form-function (de)coupling relations between vocalization types and game…

  7. The Role of Prelinguistic Vocalizations in Infancy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ramey, Craig T.

    This paper deals with three areas concerning early vocal development: (1) review and critique of existing experimental evidence suggesting that early vocal behavior has the properties of an operant response, (2) speculations concerning the role of non-verbal vocal behavior in early psychological development, and (3) suggestions for future…

  8. Cetacean vocal learning and communication.

    PubMed

    Janik, Vincent M

    2014-10-01

    The cetaceans are one of the few mammalian clades capable of vocal production learning. Evidence for this comes from synchronous changes in song patterns of baleen whales and experimental work on toothed whales in captivity. While baleen whales like many vocal learners use this skill in song displays that are involved in sexual selection, toothed whales use learned signals in individual recognition and the negotiation of social relationships. Experimental studies demonstrated that dolphins can use learned signals referentially. Studies on wild dolphins demonstrated how this skill appears to be useful in their own communication system, making them an interesting subject for comparative communication studies.

  9. Hearing in the elephant (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Heffner, R; Heffner, H

    1980-05-02

    Auditory thresholds were determined for a 7-year-old Indian elephant. The hearing range extended from 17 hertz to 10.5 kilohertz. The results indicate that the inverse relationship between functional interaural distance (that is, the distance between the two ears divided by the speed of sound) and high-frequency hearing limit is valid even for very large mammals.

  10. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf.

    PubMed

    Whitmore, F C; Emery, K O; Cooke, H B; Swift, D J

    1967-06-16

    Teeth of mastodons and mammoths have been recovered by fishermen from at least 40 sites on the continental shelf as deep as 120 meters. Also present are submerged shorelines, peat deposits, lagoonal shells, anz relict sands. Evidently elephants and other large mammals ranged this region during the glacial stage of low sea level of the last 25,000 years.

  11. Elephant teeth from the atlantic continental shelf

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whitmore, F.C.; Emery, K.O.; Cooke, H.B.S.; Swift, D.J.P.

    1967-01-01

    Teeth of mastodons and mastodons have been recovered by fishermen from at least 40 sites on the continental shelf as deep as 120 meters. Also present are submerged shorelines, peat deposits, lagoonal shells, and relict sands. Evidently elephants and other large mammals ranged this region during the glacial stage of low sea level of the last 25.000 years.

  12. Testing the evolutionary conservation of vocal motoneurons in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Albersheim-Carter, Jacob; Blubaum, Aleksandar; Ballagh, Irene H; Missaghi, Kianoush; Siuda, Edward R; McMurray, George; Bass, Andrew H; Dubuc, Réjean; Kelley, Darcy B; Schmidt, Marc F; Wilson, Richard J A; Gray, Paul A

    2016-04-01

    Medullary motoneurons drive vocalization in many vertebrate lineages including fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals. The developmental history of vocal motoneuron populations in each of these lineages remains largely unknown. The highly conserved transcription factor Paired-like Homeobox 2b (Phox2b) is presumed to be expressed in all vertebrate hindbrain branchial motoneurons, including laryngeal motoneurons essential for vocalization in humans. We used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to examine Phox2b protein and mRNA expression in caudal hindbrain and rostral spinal cord motoneuron populations in seven species across five chordate classes. Phox2b was present in motoneurons dedicated to sound production in mice and frogs (bullfrog, African clawed frog), but not those in bird (zebra finch) or bony fish (midshipman, channel catfish). Overall, the pattern of caudal medullary motoneuron Phox2b expression was conserved across vertebrates and similar to expression in sea lamprey. These observations suggest that motoneurons dedicated to sound production in vertebrates are not derived from a single developmentally or evolutionarily conserved progenitor pool.

  13. Sperm DNA fragmentation and morphological degeneration in chilled elephant (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta Africana) semen collected by transrectal massage.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, J K; Steinman, K J; Montano, G A; Love, C C; Robeck, T R

    2013-05-01

    Ejaculates from nine Asian and two African elephants were analysed to gain a further understanding of mechanisms underlying variable semen quality after transrectal massage. Semen analysis was performed after collection (0 h; subjective motility parameters only) and after 24 h of chilled storage at 10 °C (24 h; all ejaculate and sperm characteristics). Ejaculates with ≤50% total motility (TM) at 24 h, which represented >90% of collection attempts, contained a sperm population with a high degree of DNA damage (64.2 ± 19.2% fragmented DNA) and an elevated incidence of detached heads (43.3 ± 22.5%). In contrast, good quality ejaculates designated as those with >50% TM at 24 h displayed higher (p < 0.05) values of sperm kinetic parameters, DNA integrity and normal morphology. Fertility potential was high for good quality ejaculates from two males (one Asian and one African bull) based on in vitro characteristics after chilled storage for up to 48 h post-collection. Urine contamination of semen, as assessed quantitatively by creatinine concentration, was confirmed as a significant factor in reduced elephant ejaculate quality. However, the identification of considerable DNA damage and morphological degeneration in the majority of ejaculates after only 24 h of chilled storage indicates that sperm ageing could be a primary contributor to inconsistent semen quality in the elephant.

  14. Combating Stagefright: Selected Vocal Exercises.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ratliff, Gerald Lee

    Noting that stagefright has been the subject of intensive analysis and subjected to almost every conceivable test or measurement without revealing either its "cause" or its "cure," this paper presents vocal exercises to help combat the performance malady. After listing four principles concerning the nature of stagefright (it is…

  15. Vocal Health for Physical Educators

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trout, Josh; McColl, Douglas

    2007-01-01

    Evidence suggests that teachers are often at risk for vocal disease and are more likely to change occupations because of their voice problems compared to non-teachers. Physical educators are especially at risk for voice problems due to the intense daily demands of voice projection. Chronic abuse can cause swelling and inflammation of the…

  16. Vocalization Induced CFos Expression in Marmoset Cortex

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Cory T.; DiMauro, Audrey; Pistorio, Ashley; Hendry, Stewart; Wang, Xiaoqin

    2010-01-01

    All non-human primates communicate with conspecifics using vocalizations, a system involving both the production and perception of species-specific vocal signals. Much of the work on the neural basis of primate vocal communication in cortex has focused on the sensory processing of vocalizations, while relatively little data are available for vocal production. Earlier physiological studies in squirrel monkeys had shed doubts on the involvement of primate cortex in vocal behaviors. The aim of the present study was to identify areas of common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) cortex that are potentially involved in vocal communication. In this study, we quantified cFos expression in three areas of marmoset cortex – frontal, temporal (auditory), and medial temporal – under various vocal conditions. Specifically, we examined cFos expression in these cortical areas during the sensory, motor (vocal production), and sensory–motor components of vocal communication. Our results showed an increase in cFos expression in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex as well as the medial and lateral belt areas of auditory cortex in the vocal perception condition. In contrast, subjects in the vocal production condition resulted in increased cFos expression only in dorsal premotor cortex. During the sensory–motor condition (antiphonal calling), subjects exhibited cFos expression in each of the above areas, as well as increased expression in perirhinal cortex. Overall, these results suggest that various cortical areas outside primary auditory cortex are involved in primate vocal communication. These findings pave the way for further physiological studies of the neural basis of primate vocal communication. PMID:21179582

  17. [Keeping of elephants in the zoo and circus].

    PubMed

    Rietschel, W

    2002-03-01

    There is a decrease in the number of elephants kept in European zoological gardens and circus companies. In the future the import of animals will only be possible for holders which are able to keep family-groups of elephants under species-specific conditions. This will not be possible under circus conditions. This article will describe some problems observed in elephant holdings in zoological gardens and circus companies.

  18. Isoleucine epimerization ages of the dwarf elephants of Sicily

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belluomini, Giorgio; Bada, Jeffrey L.

    1985-07-01

    The isoleucine epimerization reaction has been used to date tooth enamel from dwarf elephants collected from the Sicilian caves of Spinagallo and Puntali. Elephant teeth from the Isernia la Pineta deposit in central Italy, dated at ˜700 ka by potassium-argon (K-Ar) and paleomagnetics, were used for calibration of the isoleucine epimerization rate. The ages determined for the dwarf elephants found at the Spinagallo Cave are considerably older than the more robust dwarf species found at the Puntali Cave. These dates suggest that more than one invasion of continental elephants have taken place on Sicily. The subsequent isolation of the continental species has apparently produced varying stages of dwarfism.

  19. Kinetics of viral loads and genotypic analysis of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus-1 infection in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).

    PubMed

    Stanton, Jeffrey J; Zong, Jian-Chao; Eng, Crystal; Howard, Lauren; Flanagan, Joe; Stevens, Martina; Schmitt, Dennis; Wiedner, Ellen; Graham, Danielle; Junge, Randall E; Weber, Martha A; Fischer, Martha; Mejia, Alicia; Tan, Jie; Latimer, Erin; Herron, Alan; Hayward, Gary S; Ling, Paul D

    2013-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants (Elphas maximus); however, sporadic shedding of virus in trunk washes collected from healthy elephants also has been detected. Data regarding the relationship of viral loads in blood compared with trunk washes are lacking, and questions about whether elephants can undergo multiple infections with EEHVs have not been addressed previously. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to determine the kinetics of EEHV1 loads, and genotypic analysis was performed on EEHV1 DNA detected in various fluid samples obtained from five Asian elephants that survived detectable EEHV1 DNAemia on at least two separate occasions. In three elephants displaying clinical signs of illness, preclinical EEHV1 DNAemia was detectable, and peak whole-blood viral loads occurred 3-8 days after the onset of clinical signs. In two elephants with EEHV1 DNAemia that persisted for 7-21 days, no clinical signs of illness were observed. Detection of EEHV1 DNA in trunk washes peaked approximately 21 days after DNAemia, and viral genotypes detected during DNAemia matched those detected in subsequent trunk washes from the same elephant. In each of the five elephants, two distinct EEHV1 genotypes were identified in whole blood and trunk washes at different time points. In each case, these genotypes represented both an EEHV1A and an EEHV1B subtype. These data suggest that knowledge of viral loads could be useful for the management of elephants before or during clinical illness. Furthermore, sequential infection with both EEHV1 subtypes occurs in Asian elephants, suggesting that they do not elicit cross-protective sterilizing immunity. These data will be useful to individuals involved in the husbandry and clinical care of Asian elephants.

  20. VOCALS-UK: An overview of UK VOCALS science (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coe, H.; Vocals-Uk Science Team

    2010-12-01

    This paper will highlight a variety of process studies, observationally led studies and modelling studies, both completed and in progress, conducted by groups in the United Kingdom, working in collaboration with international partners on the VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx). The VOCALS field experiment was conducted out of Arica, Chile, between October and November, 2008. The study aims to better understand the nature and variability of interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and steep topography, as well as local and long-range transport of pollutants and aerosol, in the context of their role in controlling the climate of the South East Pacific - an important region in terms of the global energy budget and which is currently poorly characterised in global climate models. Specific highlights will include a statistical representation of the SEP marine boundary layer during VOCALS-Rex to inform future modelling; an analysis of the synoptic and large-scale dynamical influences on cloud in the SEP; results from improved Met Office Unified Model forecast runs which examine aerosol-cloud interactions with a comparison to results from WRF-CHEM; and large eddy modelling of simulated gravity waves and their potential to induce open cellular convection (create pockets of open cells). In addition, early results from a number of further studies will be presented.

  1. Referential Mapping: A Technique for Attaching Functional Significance to the Innovative Utterances of an African Grey Parrot (Psittascus Erithacus).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pepperberg, Irene M.

    1990-01-01

    Spontaneous combinations and phonological variations of the vocalizations of an African Grey parrot were treated as if they were intentional requests or comments. The success of these "referential mapping" procedures in attaching functional significance to the parrot's vocalizations may have implications for intervention programs for…

  2. Modeling vocalization with ECoG cortical activity recorded during vocal production in the macaque monkey.

    PubMed

    Fukushima, Makoto; Saunders, Richard C; Fujii, Naotaka; Averbeck, Bruno B; Mishkin, Mortimer

    2014-01-01

    Vocal production is an example of controlled motor behavior with high temporal precision. Previous studies have decoded auditory evoked cortical activity while monkeys listened to vocalization sounds. On the other hand, there have been few attempts at decoding motor cortical activity during vocal production. Here we recorded cortical activity during vocal production in the macaque with a chronically implanted electrocorticographic (ECoG) electrode array. The array detected robust activity in motor cortex during vocal production. We used a nonlinear dynamical model of the vocal organ to reduce the dimensionality of `Coo' calls produced by the monkey. We then used linear regression to evaluate the information in motor cortical activity for this reduced representation of calls. This simple linear model accounted for circa 65% of the variance in the reduced sound representations, supporting the feasibility of using the dynamical model of the vocal organ for decoding motor cortical activity during vocal production.

  3. Noise reduction for vocal pathologies.

    PubMed

    Matassini, L; Manfredi, C

    2002-01-01

    A noise reduction scheme, particularly suited for the correction of vocal pathologies, is proposed. The filter makes use of concepts originated within the theory of dynamical systems and deterministic chaos. In particular, the idea of embedding scalar data in order to reconstruct a phase space is of fundamental importance here. Furthermore, the concept of an attractor as a result of dynamical constraints is exploited. In order to perform noise reduction one needs redundancy and the human voice provides it even within a phoneme, namely the smallest structural unit of speech. Due to several repetitions of a pattern called pitch inside a phoneme, separation between the pure voice signal and the noise is possible, provided the latter is uncorrelated with the former. With a proper parameter tuning, different kinds of noise can be removed. We describe the idea behind the noise reduction algorithm and present applications to vocal pathologies.

  4. Vocal communication of wild parrots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradbury, Jack

    2004-05-01

    Field studies of four sympatric parrot species in Costa Rica are revealing several possible functions for the well-known ability of parrots to mimic new sounds throughout life. Despite earlier suggestions that this might facilitate exchanges of environmental information, all data so far suggest that vocal mimicry in the wild is associated with mediation of the fission/fusion of groups of parrots and/or of conflicts between mated pairs. Recent results using array recording and interactive playback will be summarized, and several technical problems created by the mechanisms of parrot vocal signal production discussed. [Research supported by NSF Grant IBN-022927 and by continued encouragement and logistics provided by the staff of the Area Conservacion Guanacaste (Costa Rica).

  5. Acoustic detection of manatee vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niezrecki, Christopher; Phillips, Richard; Meyer, Michael; Beusse, Diedrich O.

    2003-09-01

    The West Indian manatee (trichechus manatus latirostris) has become endangered partly because of a growing number of collisions with boats. A system to warn boaters of the presence of manatees, that can signal to boaters that manatees are present in the immediate vicinity, could potentially reduce these boat collisions. In order to identify the presence of manatees, acoustic methods are employed. Within this paper, three different detection algorithms are used to detect the calls of the West Indian manatee. The detection systems are tested in the laboratory using simulated manatee vocalizations from an audio compact disk. The detection method that provides the best overall performance is able to correctly identify ~96% of the manatee vocalizations. However, the system also results in a false alarm rate of ~16%. The results of this work may ultimately lead to the development of a manatee warning system that can warn boaters of the presence of manatees.

  6. Recording vocalizations with Bluetooth technology.

    PubMed

    Gaona-González, Andrés; Santillán-Doherty, Ana María; Arenas-Rosas, Rita Virginia; Muñoz-Delgado, Jairo; Aguillón-Pantaleón, Miguel Angel; Ordoñez-Gómez, José Domingo; Márquez-Arias, Alejandra

    2011-06-01

    We propose a method for capturing vocalizations that is designed to avoid some of the limiting factors found in traditional bioacoustical methods, such as the impossibility of obtaining continuous long-term registers or analyzing amplitude due to the continuous change of distance between the subject and the position of the recording system. Using Bluetooth technology, vocalizations are captured and transmitted wirelessly into a receiving system without affecting the quality of the signal. The recordings of the proposed system were compared to those obtained as a reference, which were based on the coding of the signal with the so-called pulse-code modulation technique in WAV audio format without any compressing process. The evaluation showed p < .05 for the measured quantitative and qualitative parameters. We also describe how the transmitting system is encapsulated and fixed on the animal and a way to video record a spider monkey's behavior simultaneously with the audio recordings.

  7. Ultrasonic Vocalizations Emitted by Flying Squirrels

    PubMed Central

    Murrant, Meghan N.; Bowman, Jeff; Garroway, Colin J.; Prinzen, Brian; Mayberry, Heather; Faure, Paul A.

    2013-01-01

    Anecdotal reports of ultrasound use by flying squirrels have existed for decades, yet there has been little detailed analysis of their vocalizations. Here we demonstrate that two species of flying squirrel emit ultrasonic vocalizations. We recorded vocalizations from northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels calling in both the laboratory and at a field site in central Ontario, Canada. We demonstrate that flying squirrels produce ultrasonic emissions through recorded bursts of broadband noise and time-frequency structured frequency modulated (FM) vocalizations, some of which were purely ultrasonic. Squirrels emitted three types of ultrasonic calls in laboratory recordings and one type in the field. The variety of signals that were recorded suggest that flying squirrels may use ultrasonic vocalizations to transfer information. Thus, vocalizations may be an important, although still poorly understood, aspect of flying squirrel social biology. PMID:24009728

  8. Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koffi, Moise; Jiji, Latif; Andreopoulos, Yiannis

    2009-11-01

    It is estimated that a 4200 kg elephant generates as much as 5.12 kW of heat. How the elephant dissipates its metabolic heat and regulates its body temperature has been investigated during the past seven decades. Findings and conclusions differ sharply. The high rate of metabolic heat coupled with low surface area to volume ratio and the absence of sweat glands eliminate surface convection as the primary mechanism for heat removal. Noting that the elephant ears have high surface area to volume ratio and an extensive vascular network, ear flapping is thought to be the principal thermoregulatory mechanism. A computational and experimental program is carried out to examine flow and heat transfer characteristics. The ear is modeled as a uniformly heated oscillating rectangular plate. Our computational work involves a three-dimensional time dependent CFD code with heat transfer capabilities to obtain predictions of the flow field and surface temperature distributions. This information was used to design an experimental setup with a uniformly heated plate of size 0.2m x 0.3m oscillating at 1.6 cycles per second. Results show that surface temperature increases and reaches a steady periodic oscillation after a period of transient oscillation. The role of the vortices shed off the plate in heat transfer enhancement will be discussed.

  9. Auditory feedback modulates development of kitten vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Hubka, Peter; Konerding, Wiebke; Kral, Andrej

    2015-07-01

    Effects of hearing loss on vocal behavior are species-specific. To study the impact of auditory feedback on feline vocal behavior, vocalizations of normal-hearing, hearing-impaired (white) and congenitally deaf (white) cats were analyzed at around weaning age. Eleven animals were placed in a soundproof booth for 30 min at different ages, from the first to the beginning of the fourth postnatal month, every 2 weeks of life. In total, 13,874 vocalizations were analyzed using an automated procedure. Firstly, vocalizations were detected and segmented, with voiced and unvoiced vocalizations being differentiated. The voiced isolation calls ('meow') were further analyzed. These vocalizations showed developmental changes affecting several parameters in hearing controls, whereas the developmental sequence was delayed in congenitally deaf cats. In hearing-impaired and deaf animals, we observed differences both in vocal behavior (loudness and duration) and in the calls' acoustic structure (fundamental frequency and higher harmonics). The fundamental frequency decreased with age in all groups, most likely due to maturation of the vocal apparatus. In deaf cats, however, other aspects of the acoustic structure of the vocalizations did not fully mature. The harmonic ratio (i.e., frequency of first harmonic divided by fundamental frequency) was higher and more variable in deaf cats than in the other study groups. Auditory feedback thus affects the acoustic structure of vocalizations and their ontogenetic development. The study suggests that both the vocal apparatus and its neuronal motor control are subject to maturational processes, whereas the latter is additionally dependent on auditory feedback in cats.

  10. Nomenclature proposal to describe vocal fold motion impairment.

    PubMed

    Rosen, Clark A; Mau, Ted; Remacle, Marc; Hess, Markus; Eckel, Hans E; Young, VyVy N; Hantzakos, Anastasios; Yung, Katherine C; Dikkers, Frederik G

    2016-08-01

    The terms used to describe vocal fold motion impairment are confusing and not standardized. This results in a failure to communicate accurately and to major limitations of interpreting research studies involving vocal fold impairment. We propose standard nomenclature for reporting vocal fold impairment. Overarching terms of vocal fold immobility and hypomobility are rigorously defined. This includes assessment techniques and inclusion and exclusion criteria for determining vocal fold immobility and hypomobility. In addition, criteria for use of the following terms have been outlined in detail: vocal fold paralysis, vocal fold paresis, vocal fold immobility/hypomobility associated with mechanical impairment of the crico-arytenoid joint and vocal fold immobility/hypomobility related to laryngeal malignant disease. This represents the first rigorously defined vocal fold motion impairment nomenclature system. This provides detailed definitions to the terms vocal fold paralysis and vocal fold paresis.

  11. Vocal Integrity of Elementary Vocal Music Teachers: Personal and Environmental Factors.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bernstorf, Elaine D.; Burk, Kenneth W.

    1996-01-01

    Examines the vocal demands of teaching in a noisy environment for elementary vocal music teachers. Uses the Voice Conservation Index (VCI), a 31-item self-report scale, to collect data on vocal stress. Correlates this data with other factors including years spent in teaching and teaching schedule. (MJP)

  12. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Free-Roaming Wild Asian Elephant

    PubMed Central

    Shivashankar, Beechagondahalli Papanna; Umashankar, Kunigal Srinivasa; Nandini, Poojappa; Giridhar, Papanna; Byregowda, Somenahalli Munivenkatappa; Shrinivasa, Basavegowdanadoddi Marinaik

    2017-01-01

    Postmortem examination of a wild Asian elephant at Rajiv Gandhi National Park, India, revealed nodular lesions, granulomas with central caseation, and acid-fast bacilli in the lungs. PCR and nucleotide sequencing confirmed the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This study indicates that wild elephants can harbor M. tuberculosis that can become fatal. PMID:28221114

  13. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India

    PubMed Central

    Zachariah, Arun; Pandiyan, Jeganathan; Madhavilatha, G.K.; Mundayoor, Sathish; Chandramohan, Bathrachalam; Sajesh, P.K.; Santhosh, Sam

    2017-01-01

    We tested 3 ild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in southern India and confirmed infection in 3 animals with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an obligate human pathogen, by PCR and genetic sequencing. Our results indicate that tuberculosis may be spilling over from humans (reverse zoonosis) and emerging in wild elephants. PMID:28221104

  14. Drug delivery to captive Asian elephants - treating Goliath.

    PubMed

    Isaza, Ramiro; Hunter, Robert P

    2004-07-01

    Captive Asian elephants have been maintained in captivity by humans for over 4000 years. Despite this association, there is little published literature on the treatment of elephant diseases or methods of drug administration to these animals. Elephants in captivity are generally healthy and require few therapeutic interventions over the course of their lifetime. However, when they become acutely ill, treatment becomes a serious issue. The successful and consistent administration of therapeutics to elephants is formidable in an animal that presents significant limitations in drug delivery options. The single most important factor in administering drugs to an elephant is the animal's cooperation in accepting the medication. Working around elephants can be very dangerous and this is magnified when working around sick or injured animals where the elephant is subject to increased stress, pain, and unusual situations associated with treatment. The large body size of the Asian elephant produces a separate set of issues. In this paper, methods of drug administration and their associated limitations will be reviewed. Considerations of medicating such large animals can serve to highlight the problems and principles of treatment that are inherent in these species.

  15. 38. ELEPHANT BOILERS 1905: Photocopy of April 1905 photograph ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    38. ELEPHANT BOILERS - 1905: Photocopy of April 1905 photograph showing elephant boilers along the west wall of the Washington and Mason Street powerhouse and car barn. View looking west on first floor of building. - San Francisco Cable Railway, Washington & Mason Streets, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA

  16. Resisting Elephants Lurking in the Music Education Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Regelski, Thomas A.

    2014-01-01

    Music education has many "elephants" in its classrooms: obvious major problems that go unmentioned and suffered silently. Two of the larger, more problematic "elephants" are identified, analyzed, and critiqued: (1) the hegemony of university schools of music on school music and the resulting focus in school music on…

  17. My College Education: Looking at the Whole Elephant

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Merrow, John

    2006-01-01

    In a well-known fable, several blind men are asked to describe an elephant. One says, ''An elephant is flat, like a pancake," another says that it's "like a big snake." Their descriptions are accurate but limited, based on whichever part of the beast each happens to be holding--the ear, the trunk, and so forth. America's "system" of higher…

  18. Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Wild Asian Elephants, Southern India.

    PubMed

    Zachariah, Arun; Pandiyan, Jeganathan; Madhavilatha, G K; Mundayoor, Sathish; Chandramohan, Bathrachalam; Sajesh, P K; Santhosh, Sam; Mikota, Susan K

    2017-03-01

    We tested 3 ild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in southern India and confirmed infection in 3 animals with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an obligate human pathogen, by PCR and genetic sequencing. Our results indicate that tuberculosis may be spilling over from humans (reverse zoonosis) and emerging in wild elephants.

  19. Determinants of elephant distribution at Nazinga Game Ranch, Burkina Faso

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jenks, Jonathan A.; Klaver, Robert W.; Wicks, Zeno W.

    2007-01-01

    We used seasonal ground total counts and remote sensing and GIS technology to relate elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) distribution at Nazinga Game Ranch to environmental and anthropogenic factors. Variables used in analyses were normalized difference vegetation index, elevation, stream density, density of poaching and human illegal activities, distance to dams, distance to rivers, distance to roads, and distance to poaching risk. Contrary to our expectation, road traffic did not disturb elephants. Strong negative relationships were documented between elephant abundance and stream density, distance to dams, and poaching density. Density of poaching and other human illegal activities explained 81%, vegetation greenness 6%, and stream density 3% of the variation in elephant density. Elephant distribution represented a survival strategy affected by poaching, food quality and abundance, and water availability. 

  20. "The Elephant in the Dark Room": Merrick and Menacing Mimicry in Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sasani, Samira

    2015-01-01

    This paper tries to look at Pomerance's "The Elephant Man," from a new perspective from which no critic has investigated the play, before. Applying postcolonial theory of Homi K. Bhabha to the play, the author scrutinizes how "mimicry strategy", employed by the colonizer and the Other, can be threatening for both and how the…

  1. Regional Variations in the Phonological Characteristics of African American Vernacular English.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinton, Linette N.; Pollock, Karen E.

    2000-01-01

    Investigated African American Vernacular English dialect features in the midwestern community of Davenport, Iowa, and compared them to those reported by Pollock and Berni (1997) for Memphis, Tennessee--specifically productions of vocalic and postvocalic /r/ across African-American speakers from Davenport and Memphis. (Author/VWL)

  2. Objective Measurement of Vocal Fatigue in Classically Trained Singers: A Pilot Study of Vocal Dosimetry Data

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Thomas; Nix, John; Hunter, Eric; Titze, Ingo; Abaza, Mona

    2016-01-01

    Objectives To evaluate vocal fatigue by using objective and subjective measurements of dose recorded by the National Center for Voice and Speech (NCVS) Dosimeter™ (Dosimeter). Study Design and Setting Seven subjects completed a two-week study period. The Dosimeter recorded vocal load, soft phonation tasks and subjective soft voice ratings. Three vocal doses (time, distance, and cycle) were measured in classical singers' larynges during an intensive practice period. Results Spikes in vocal load are reflected as harsher subjective ratings on the same day as well as 24–72 hours later. When at least 48 hours of vocal rest occurred before a vocal load, improved subjective evaluations were seen after the load. Conclusions The NCVS Dosimeter appears to be an effective tool for data collection on prolonged use of the voice. Significance This is the first multi-day study comparing objective and subjective data on vocal fatigue in a group of professional singers. PMID:17011424

  3. Vocal Stress and Deception Detection among Chinese.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Hair, Dan; And Others

    1990-01-01

    Investigates vocal stress as an indicator of deception or truth telling, using descriptive, narrative, and emotionally eliciting questions in simulated job interviews with Chinese immigrants. Finds the validity of the vocal stress index as a measure of stress and discomfort limited to prepared lies and responses requiring an emotional response.…

  4. Vocal competition in male Xenopus laevis frogs

    PubMed Central

    Tobias, Martha L.; Corke, Anna; Korsh, Jeremy; Yin, David; Kelley, Darcy B.

    2011-01-01

    Male Xenopus laevis frogs produce underwater advertisement calls that attract gravid females and suppress calling by male competitors. Here we explore whether groups of males establish vocal ranks and whether auditory cues alone suffice for vocal suppression. Tests of male–male pairs within assigned groups reveal linear vocal dominance relations, in which each male has a defined rank. Both the duration over which males interact, as well as the number of competitive opportunities, affect linearity. Linear dominance across the group is stable for about 2 weeks; rank is dynamic. Males engage in physical interactions (clasping) while paired but clasping and vocal rank are not correlated. Playbacks of advertisement calls suppress calling and calls from high- and low-ranking males are equally effective. Thus, auditory cues alone suffice to suppress vocal behavior. Playback intensities equivalent to a nearby male advertising effectively suppress calling while low-intensity playbacks are either ineffective or stimulate vocal behavior. X. laevis advertisement calls are biphasic, composed of alternating fast and slow click trills. Approximately half the males tested are more vocally suppressed by all slow than by all fast trills; thus, these males can distinguish between the two phases. The fully aquatic family Pipidae diverged from terrestrial ancestors approximately 170 mya. Vocal suppression in the X. laevis mating system may represent the translation of an ancient anuran social strategy to underwater life. PMID:21442049

  5. First Communion: The Emergence of Vocal Relationships.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Locke, John L.

    2001-01-01

    Proposes that vocal communion between infant and caregiver supports infants' language acquisition and connectedness with caregivers. Recommends research to determine whether social behaviors such as joint attention and vocal imitation are functionally related to language learning or are only symptomatic of a survival-centered caregiving…

  6. Vocal Imitation of Song and Speech

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mantell, James T.; Pfordresher, Peter Q.

    2013-01-01

    We report four experiments that explored the cognitive bases of vocal imitation. Specifically, we investigated the accuracy with which normal individuals vocally imitated the pitch-time trajectories of spoken sentences and sung melodies, presented in their original form and with phonetic information removed. Overall, participants imitated melodies…

  7. Vocal cord dysfunction during wartime.

    PubMed

    Craig, T; Sitz, K; Squire, E; Smith, L; Carpenter, G

    1992-11-01

    Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) often masquerades as asthma. The diagnosis is rarely suspected, but should be considered in cases of asthma that present atypically or that fail to respond to standard therapy. The frequency of VCD would be expected to increase during times of stress, including periods of war, since it is thought to be a conversion reaction. A high level of suspicion for VCD is essential to make the diagnosis so as to avoid unnecessary, potentially toxic medications and to direct the patient to prompt psychiatric care, which along with speech therapy, is the cornerstone of care.

  8. Auditory-vocal mirroring in songbirds.

    PubMed

    Mooney, Richard

    2014-01-01

    Mirror neurons are theorized to serve as a neural substrate for spoken language in humans, but the existence and functions of auditory-vocal mirror neurons in the human brain remain largely matters of speculation. Songbirds resemble humans in their capacity for vocal learning and depend on their learned songs to facilitate courtship and individual recognition. Recent neurophysiological studies have detected putative auditory-vocal mirror neurons in a sensorimotor region of the songbird's brain that plays an important role in expressive and receptive aspects of vocal communication. This review discusses the auditory and motor-related properties of these cells, considers their potential role on song learning and communication in relation to classical studies of birdsong, and points to the circuit and developmental mechanisms that may give rise to auditory-vocal mirroring in the songbird's brain.

  9. Avian vocal production beyond low dimensional models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mindlin, Gabriel B.

    2017-02-01

    Birdsong is an active field of research in neuroscience, since songbirds learn their songs through a process similar to that followed by humans during vocal learning. Moreover, many of the vocalizations produced by birds are quite complex. Since the avian vocal organ is nonlinear, it is sensible to explore how much of that complexity is due to the neural instructions controlling the vocal organ, and how much to its nonlinear nature. In this work we first review some of the work carried out in the last years to address this problem, and then we discuss the existence of noisy sound sources in the avian vocal organ. We show that some spectral features of the song produced by the Zebra finch (one of the most widely studied species) can only be explained when vortex sound is taken into account.

  10. The impact of competition on elephant musth strategies: A game-theoretic model.

    PubMed

    Wyse, J Max; Hardy, Ian C W; Yon, Lisa; Mesterton-Gibbons, Mike

    2017-03-21

    Mature male African Savannah elephants are known to periodically enter a temporary state of heightened aggression called "musth", often linked with increased androgens, particularly testosterone. Sexually mature males are capable of entering musth at any time of year, and will often travel long distances to find estrous females. When two musth bulls or two non-musth bulls encounter one another, the agonistic interaction is usually won by the larger male. However, when a smaller musth bull encounters a larger non-musth bull, the smaller musth male can win. The relative mating success of musth males is due partly to this fighting advantage, and partly to estrous females' general preference for musth males. Though musth behavior has long been observed and documented, the evolutionary advantages of musth remain poorly understood. Here we develop a game-theoretic model of male musth behavior which assumes musth duration as a parameter, and distributions of small, medium and large musth males are predicted in both time and space. The predicted results are similar to the musth timing behavior observed in the Amboseli National Park elephant population, and further results are generated with relevance to Samburu National Park. We discuss small male musth behavior, the effects of estrous female spatial heterogeneity on musth timing, conservation applications, and the assumptions underpinning the model.

  11. Shackleton's men: life on Elephant Island.

    PubMed

    Piggott, Jan R

    2004-09-01

    The experiences of the 22 men from Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition of 1914-1916 who were marooned on Elephant Island during the Antarctic winter are not as well known as the narrative of the ship being beset and sunk, and Shackleton's open boat journey to South Georgia to rescue them. Frank Wild was left in charge of the marooned men by Shackleton and saved them from starvation and despair. The morale of the men in the face of extreme exposure to the elements, the ingenuity of their devices for survival and their diet, conversation and entertainments all reveal heroic qualities of Shackletonian endurance.

  12. The influence of surface atmospheric conditions on the range and area reached by animal vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Larom, D; Garstang, M; Payne, K; Raspet, R; Lindeque, M

    1997-02-01

    Low-level vertical changes in temperature and wind exert powerful and predictable influences on the area ensonified by animal vocalizations. Computer modelling of low-frequency sound propagation in measured atmospheric conditions predicts that the calls of the savanna elephant at these frequencies can have ranges exceeding 10 km and that the calls will be highly directional in the presence of wind shear. Calling area is maximized under temperature inversions with low wind speeds. Calling area changes substantially over 24 h periods; on any given day, the calling area undergoes an expansion and contraction which may be as large as one order of magnitude. This cycle is modulated by topography, regional weather patterns, seasonality and possibly by climate variation. Similar influences affect the somewhat higher-frequency calls of lions and may be a selective pressure towards their crepuscular and nocturnal calling behaviour. Coyotes and wolves, which also live in areas with strong and prevalent nocturnal temperature inversions, show similar calling patterns, maximizing their chances of being heard over the longest possible distances. The pronounced dawn and evening vocalization peaks in other animals including birds, frogs and insects may reflect the same influences in combination with other factors which selectively limit high-frequency sound propagation. Atmospheric conditions therefore need to be taken into account in many field studies of animal behaviour. A simplified method for estimating sound propagation during field studies is presented.

  13. Derived vocalizations of geladas (Theropithecus gelada) and the evolution of vocal complexity in primates

    PubMed Central

    Gustison, Morgan L.; le Roux, Aliza; Bergman, Thore J.

    2012-01-01

    Primates are intensely social and exhibit extreme variation in social structure, making them particularly well suited for uncovering evolutionary connections between sociality and vocal complexity. Although comparative studies find a correlation between social and vocal complexity, the function of large vocal repertoires in more complex societies remains unclear. We compared the vocal complexity found in primates to both mammals in general and human language in particular and found that non-human primates are not unusual in the complexity of their vocal repertoires. To better understand the function of vocal complexity within primates, we compared two closely related primates (chacma baboons and geladas) that differ in their ecology and social structures. A key difference is that gelada males form long-term bonds with the 2–12 females in their harem-like reproductive unit, while chacma males primarily form temporary consortships with females. We identified homologous and non-homologous calls and related the use of the derived non-homologous calls to specific social situations. We found that the socially complex (but ecologically simple) geladas have larger vocal repertoires. Derived vocalizations of geladas were primarily used by leader males in affiliative interactions with ‘their’ females. The derived calls were frequently used following fights within the unit suggesting that maintaining cross-sex bonds within a reproductive unit contributed to this instance of evolved vocal complexity. Thus, our comparison highlights the utility of using closely related species to better understand the function of vocal complexity. PMID:22641823

  14. A Rat Excised Larynx Model of Vocal Fold Scar

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Welham, Nathan V.; Montequin, Douglas W.; Tateya, Ichiro; Tateya, Tomoko; Choi, Seong Hee; Bless, Diane M.

    2009-01-01

    Purpose: To develop and evaluate a rat excised larynx model for the measurement of acoustic, aerodynamic, and vocal fold vibratory changes resulting from vocal fold scar. Method: Twenty-four 4-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to 1 of 4 experimental groups: chronic vocal fold scar, chronic vocal fold scar treated with 100-ng basic…

  15. Functional neuroimaging of human vocalizations and affective speech.

    PubMed

    Frühholz, Sascha; Sander, David; Grandjean, Didier

    2014-12-01

    Neuroimaging studies have verified the important integrative role of the basal ganglia during affective vocalizations. They, however, also point to additional regions supporting vocal monitoring, auditory-motor feedback processing, and online adjustments of vocal motor responses. For the case of affective vocalizations, we suggest partly extending the model to fully consider the link between primate-general and human-specific neural components.

  16. Infant Vocalization When Alone: Possibility of Early Sound Playing

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shimada, Yohko M.

    2012-01-01

    Five-month-old infants' vocalization when alone was investigated. Several researchers have reported observing that young infants vocalize in comfortable states without any response from others. As is implied by episodic reports in previous studies, it is possible that infants vocalize to play with their own vocal sound. Producing and listening to…

  17. Gestures, Vocalizations, and Memory in Language Origins

    PubMed Central

    Aboitiz, Francisco

    2011-01-01

    This article discusses the possible homologies between the human language networks and comparable auditory projection systems in the macaque brain, in an attempt to reconcile two existing views on language evolution: one that emphasizes hand control and gestures, and the other that emphasizes auditory–vocal mechanisms. The capacity for language is based on relatively well defined neural substrates whose rudiments have been traced in the non-human primate brain. At its core, this circuit constitutes an auditory–vocal sensorimotor circuit with two main components, a “ventral pathway” connecting anterior auditory regions with anterior ventrolateral prefrontal areas, and a “dorsal pathway” connecting auditory areas with parietal areas and with posterior ventrolateral prefrontal areas via the arcuate fasciculus and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. In humans, the dorsal circuit is especially important for phonological processing and phonological working memory, capacities that are critical for language acquisition and for complex syntax processing. In the macaque, the homolog of the dorsal circuit overlaps with an inferior parietal–premotor network for hand and gesture selection that is under voluntary control, while vocalizations are largely fixed and involuntary. The recruitment of the dorsal component for vocalization behavior in the human lineage, together with a direct cortical control of the subcortical vocalizing system, are proposed to represent a fundamental innovation in human evolution, generating an inflection point that permitted the explosion of vocal language and human communication. In this context, vocal communication and gesturing have a common history in primate communication. PMID:22347184

  18. Enhanced processing of vocal melodies in childhood.

    PubMed

    Weiss, Michael W; Schellenberg, E Glenn; Trehub, Sandra E; Dawber, Emily J

    2015-03-01

    Music cognition is typically studied with instrumental stimuli. Adults remember melodies better, however, when they are presented in a biologically significant timbre (i.e., the human voice) than in various instrumental timbres (Weiss, Trehub, & Schellenberg, 2012). We examined the impact of vocal timbre on children's processing of melodies. In Study 1, 9- to 11-year-olds listened to 16 unfamiliar folk melodies (4 each of voice, piano, banjo, or marimba). They subsequently listened to the same melodies and 16 timbre-matched foils, and judged whether each melody was old or new. Vocal melodies were recognized better than instrumental melodies, which did not differ from one another, and the vocal advantage was consistent across age. In Study 2, 5- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 8-year-olds were tested with a simplified design that included only vocal and piano melodies. Both age groups successfully differentiated old from new melodies, but memory was more accurate for the older group. The older children recognized vocal melodies better than piano melodies, whereas the younger children tended to label vocal melodies as old whether they were old or new. The results provide the first evidence of differential processing of vocal and instrumental melodies in childhood.

  19. The role of auditory feedback in vocal learning and maintenance

    PubMed Central

    Tschida, Katherine; Mooney, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Auditory experience is critical for the acquisition and maintenance of learned vocalizations in both humans and songbirds. Despite the central role of auditory feedback in vocal learning and maintenance, where and how auditory feedback affects neural circuits important to vocal control remain poorly understood. Recent studies of singing birds have uncovered neural mechanisms by which feedback perturbations affect vocal plasticity and also have identified feedback-sensitive neurons at or near sites of auditory and vocal motor interaction. Additionally, recent studies in marmosets have underscored that even in the absence of vocal learning, vocalization remains flexible in the face of changing acoustical environments, pointing to rapid interactions between auditory and vocal motor systems. Finally, recent studies show that a juvenile songbird’s initial auditory experience of a song model has long-lasting effects on sensorimotor neurons important to vocalization, shedding light on how auditory memories and feedback interact to guide vocal learning. PMID:22137567

  20. Affinities of `hyopsodontids' to elephant shrews and a Holarctic origin of Afrotheria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zack, Shawn P.; Penkrot, Tonya A.; Bloch, Jonathan I.; Rose, Kenneth D.

    2005-03-01

    Macroscelideans (elephant shrews or sengis) are small-bodied (25-540g), cursorial (running) and saltatorial (jumping), insectivorous and omnivorous placental mammals represented by at least 15 extant African species classified in four genera. Macroscelidea is one of several morphologically diverse but predominantly African placental orders classified in the superorder Afrotheria by molecular phylogeneticists. The distribution of modern afrotheres, in combination with a basal position for Afrotheria within Placentalia and molecular divergence-time estimates, has been used to link placental diversification with the mid-Cretaceous separation of South America and Africa. Morphological phylogenetic analyses do not support Afrotheria and the fossil record favours a northern origin of Placentalia. Here we describe fossil postcrania that provide evidence for a close relationship between North American Palaeocene-Eocene apheliscine `hyopsodontid' `condylarths' (early ungulates or hoofed mammals) and extant Macroscelidea. Apheliscine postcranial morphology is consistent with a relationship to other ungulate-like afrotheres (Hyracoidea, Proboscidea) but does not provide support for a monophyletic Afrotheria. As the oldest record of an afrothere clade, identification of macroscelidean relatives in the North American Palaeocene argues against an African origin for Afrotheria, weakening support for linking placental diversification to the break-up of Gondwana.

  1. Vocal Ontogeny in Neotropical Singing Mice (Scotinomys)

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, Polly; Pasch, Bret; Warren, Ashley L.; Phelps, Steven M.

    2014-01-01

    Isolation calls produced by dependent young are a fundamental form of communication. For species in which vocal signals remain important to adult communication, the function and social context of vocal behavior changes dramatically with the onset of sexual maturity. The ontogenetic relationship between these distinct forms of acoustic communication is surprisingly under-studied. We conducted a detailed analysis of vocal development in sister species of Neotropical singing mice, Scotinomys teguina and S. xerampelinus. Adult singing mice are remarkable for their advertisement songs, rapidly articulated trills used in long-distance communication; the vocal behavior of pups was previously undescribed. We recorded 30 S. teguina and 15 S. xerampelinus pups daily, from birth to weaning; 23 S. teguina and 11 S. xerampelinus were recorded until sexual maturity. Like other rodent species with poikilothermic young, singing mice were highly vocal during the first weeks of life and stopped vocalizing before weaning. Production of first advertisement songs coincided with the onset of sexual maturity after a silent period of ≧2 weeks. Species differences in vocal behavior emerged early in ontogeny and notes that comprise adult song were produced from birth. However, the organization and relative abundance of distinct note types was very different between pups and adults. Notably, the structure, note repetition rate, and intra-individual repeatability of pup vocalizations did not become more adult-like with age; the highly stereotyped structure of adult song appeared de novo in the first songs of young adults. We conclude that, while the basic elements of adult song are available from birth, distinct selection pressures during maternal dependency, dispersal, and territorial establishment favor major shifts in the structure and prevalence of acoustic signals. This study provides insight into how an evolutionarily conserved form of acoustic signaling provides the raw material for

  2. Vocal learning beyond imitation: mechanisms of adaptive vocal development in songbirds and human infants.

    PubMed

    Tchernichovski, Ofer; Marcus, Gary

    2014-10-01

    Studies of vocal learning in songbirds typically focus on the acquisition of sensory templates for song imitation and on the consequent process of matching song production to templates. However, functional vocal development also requires the capacity to adaptively diverge from sensory templates, and to flexibly assemble vocal units. Examples of adaptive divergence include the corrective imitation of abnormal songs, and the decreased tendency to copy over-abundant syllables. Such frequency-dependent effects might mirror tradeoffs between the assimilation of group identity (culture) while establishing individual and flexibly expressive songs. Intriguingly, although the requirements for vocal plasticity vary across songbirds, and more so between birdsong and language, the capacity to flexibly assemble vocal sounds develops in a similar, stepwise manner across species. Therefore, universal features of vocal learning go well beyond the capacity to imitate.

  3. Vocal Cord Actinomycosis Mimicking a Laryngeal Tumor

    PubMed Central

    Yoshihama, Keisuke; Kato, Yasumasa; Baba, Yuh

    2013-01-01

    Laryngeal carcinoma and laryngeal papilloma are the most commonly encountered tumorous lesions in the larynx. Herein, we report a case of the mass arising from the left vocal cord in a 49-year-old Japanese man. Endoscopic examination suggested that the mass is a tumor such as carcinoma and papilloma. Pathological examination showed that the specimen demonstrated actinomycosis in the left vocal cord. Although vocal cord actinomycosis is extremely rare, the otolaryngologist should recognize this condition during the inspection of the larynx. PMID:23573444

  4. Vocal cord paralysis in a fighter pilot.

    PubMed

    Maturo, Stephen; Brennan, Joseph

    2006-01-01

    We present in this case report the return to flying duty of a pilot with vocal cord paralysis secondary to removal of a thymoma. We discuss the importance of glottic function as it pertains to the unique aviation environment. We also discuss the anatomy and physiology of the glottis, the evaluation for vocal cord paralysis, and surgical approaches for paralyzed vocal cords. Although the incidence of recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis is low in the military aviation community, it is important to recognize that its sequelae can be managed so that the aviator may return to flight duties.

  5. Vocal cord paralysis caused by stingray.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Oh Jin; Park, Jung Je; Kim, Jin Pyeong; Woo, Seung Hoon

    2013-11-01

    Foreign bodies in the oral cavity and pharynx are commonly encountered in the emergency room and outpatient departments, and the most frequently observed of these foreign bodies are fish bones. Among the possible complications resulting from a pharyngeal foreign body, vocal cord fixation is extremely rare, with only three cases previously reported in the English literature. The mechanisms of vocal cord fixation can be classified into mechanical articular fixation, direct injury of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, or recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis secondary to inflammation. The case discussed here is different from previous cases. We report a rare case of vocal cord paralysis caused by the venom of a stingray tail in the hypopharynx.

  6. Development of Auditory-Vocal Perceptual Skills in Songbirds

    PubMed Central

    Miller-Sims, Vanessa C.; Bottjer, Sarah W.

    2012-01-01

    Songbirds are one of the few groups of animals that learn the sounds used for vocal communication during development. Like humans, songbirds memorize vocal sounds based on auditory experience with vocalizations of adult “tutors”, and then use auditory feedback of self-produced vocalizations to gradually match their motor output to the memory of tutor sounds. In humans, investigations of early vocal learning have focused mainly on perceptual skills of infants, whereas studies of songbirds have focused on measures of vocal production. In order to fully exploit songbirds as a model for human speech, understand the neural basis of learned vocal behavior, and investigate links between vocal perception and production, studies of songbirds must examine both behavioral measures of perception and neural measures of discrimination during development. Here we used behavioral and electrophysiological assays of the ability of songbirds to distinguish vocal calls of varying frequencies at different stages of vocal learning. The results show that neural tuning in auditory cortex mirrors behavioral improvements in the ability to make perceptual distinctions of vocal calls as birds are engaged in vocal learning. Thus, separate measures of neural discrimination and behavioral perception yielded highly similar trends during the course of vocal development. The timing of this improvement in the ability to distinguish vocal sounds correlates with our previous work showing substantial refinement of axonal connectivity in cortico-basal ganglia pathways necessary for vocal learning. PMID:23285011

  7. Residues of persistent organochlorine contaminants in southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) from Elephant Island, Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Miranda-Filho, Kleber C; Metcalfe, Tracy L; Metcalfe, Chris D; Robaldo, Ricardo B; Muelbert, Mônica M C; Colares, Elton P; Martinez, Pablo E; Bianchini, Adalto

    2007-06-01

    Contamination of blubber tissues by organochlorine pesticides (OC) and PCBs was assessed in female and male pups and juveniles, as well as in adult females and subdominant adult males of the Southern elephant seal, Mirounga leonina, from Elephant Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. All residues of persistent organochlorine contaminants analyzed were found in blubber samples, except for beta-HCH, endosulfan II, endrin, heptachlor, and aldrin. The relative concentrations of the analytes detected were sigmaDDT > sigmaPCB > sigmachlordane > mirex > dieldrin > HCB> sigmaendosulfan > methoxychlor > sigmaHCHs > other OC pesticides. OC and PCBs concentrations were 1 or 2 orders of magnitude lower than those found in pinnipeds from northern hemisphere. The ratio sigmaDDT/sigmaPCB was higher in southern elephant seals. The relative importance of some OC residues indicates that pesticides used either currently or in the recent past in countries in the southern hemisphere are the sources of contamination in the Antarctic region. Data showed that concentrations of contaminants generally increased from pups < juveniles < adults and suggested that pups accumulated contaminants through transfer from the mother seals via transplacental and lactational routes.

  8. Audio-vocal responses of vocal fundamental frequency and formant during sustained vowel vocalizations in different noises.

    PubMed

    Lee, Shao-Hsuan; Hsiao, Tzu-Yu; Lee, Guo-She

    2015-06-01

    Sustained vocalizations of vowels [a], [i], and syllable [mə] were collected in twenty normal-hearing individuals. On vocalizations, five conditions of different audio-vocal feedback were introduced separately to the speakers including no masking, wearing supra-aural headphones only, speech-noise masking, high-pass noise masking, and broad-band-noise masking. Power spectral analysis of vocal fundamental frequency (F0) was used to evaluate the modulations of F0 and linear-predictive-coding was used to acquire first two formants. The results showed that while the formant frequencies were not significantly shifted, low-frequency modulations (<3 Hz) of F0 significantly increased with reduced audio-vocal feedback across speech sounds and were significantly correlated with auditory awareness of speakers' own voices. For sustained speech production, the motor speech controls on F0 may depend on a feedback mechanism while articulation should rely more on a feedforward mechanism. Power spectral analysis of F0 might be applied to evaluate audio-vocal control for various hearing and neurological disorders in the future.

  9. The "Silent Cough" Method for Vocal Hyperfunction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zwitman, Daniel H.; Calcaterra, Thomas C.

    1973-01-01

    A method of silent coughing is recommended as an alternative to coughing and throat clearing which are described as vocally abusive activities that can be directly related to laryngeal disease. (Author/GW)

  10. Vocal fold mobility alteration reversed after thyroidectomy

    PubMed Central

    Miazaki, Aline Paterno; Araújo-Filho, Vergilius José Furtado; Brandão, Lenine Garcia; de Araujo-Neto, Vergilius José Furtado; Cernea, Claudio Roberto

    2016-01-01

    The involvement of the inferior or recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) in mobility derangement of the vocal folds occurs more frequently due to thyroid malignancy invasion. Although uncommon, the same derangement, which is caused by benign thyroid entities, is also described and reverts to normality after a thyroidectomy in up to 89% of cases. In these cases, the pathogenesis of the vocal cord mobility disturbance is attributed to the direct compression of the RLN by massive thyroid enlargement. The authors describe three cases of patients presenting unilateral vocal cord palsy, which, before surgery, was diagnosed by laryngoscopy concomitantly with large and compressive goiter. Vocal fold mobility became normal after the thyroidectomy in all three cases. Therefore, it is noteworthy that these alterations may present reversibility after appropriate surgical treatment. An early surgical approach is recommended to reduce the nerve injury as much as possible; to preserve the integrity of both RLNs since the nerve function will be restored in some patients. PMID:27818960

  11. Normal vibration frequencies of the vocal ligament

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Titze, Ingo R.; Hunter, Eric J.

    2004-05-01

    The vocal ligament is the tension-bearing element in the vocal folds at high pitches. It has traditionally been treated as a vibrating string, with only length and longitudinal stress governing its normal mode frequencies. Results of this investigation show that, when bending stiffness and variable cross section are included, the lowest normal mode frequency can more than double, depending on the strain of the ligament. This suggests that much higher phonation frequencies may be achievable than heretofore thought for a given vocal fold length (e.g., nearly 1000 Hz at 50% elongation over cadaveric resting length). It also brings back into the discussion the concept of ``damping,'' an old misnomer for a reduction of the effective length of vibration of the vocal folds by relatively stiff boundary segments known as macula flavae. A formula is given for correcting the ideal string equation for the lowest mode frequency to include bending stiffness and macula flavae effects.

  12. Vocal Tract Articulation in Zebra Finches

    PubMed Central

    Ohms, Verena R.; Snelderwaard, Peter Ch.; ten Cate, Carel; Beckers, Gabriël J. L.

    2010-01-01

    Background Birdsong and human vocal communication are both complex behaviours which show striking similarities mainly thought to be present in the area of development and learning. Recent studies, however, suggest that there are also parallels in vocal production mechanisms. While it has been long thought that vocal tract filtering, as it occurs in human speech, only plays a minor role in birdsong there is an increasing number of studies indicating the presence of sound filtering mechanisms in bird vocalizations as well. Methodology/Principal Findings Correlating high-speed X-ray cinematographic imaging of singing zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to song structures we identified beak gape and the expansion of the oropharyngeal-esophageal cavity (OEC) as potential articulators. We subsequently manipulated both structures in an experiment in which we played sound through the vocal tract of dead birds. Comparing acoustic input with acoustic output showed that OEC expansion causes an energy shift towards lower frequencies and an amplitude increase whereas a wide beak gape emphasizes frequencies around 5 kilohertz and above. Conclusion These findings confirm that birds can modulate their song by using vocal tract filtering and demonstrate how OEC and beak gape contribute to this modulation. PMID:20689831

  13. Positive reinforcement training for a trunk wash in Nepal's working elephants: demonstrating alternatives to traditional elephant training techniques.

    PubMed

    Fagen, Ariel; Acharya, Narayan; Kaufman, Gretchen E

    2014-01-01

    Many trainers of animals in the zoo now rely on positive reinforcement training to teach animals to voluntarily participate in husbandry and veterinary procedures in an effort to improve behavioral reliability, captive management, and welfare. However, captive elephant handlers in Nepal still rely heavily on punishment- and aversion-based methods. The aim of this project was to determine the effectiveness of secondary positive reinforcement (SPR) in training free-contact elephants in Nepal to voluntarily participate in a trunk wash for the purpose of tuberculosis testing. Five female elephants, 4 juveniles and 1 adult, were enrolled in the project. Data were collected in the form of minutes of training, number of offers made for each training task, and success rate for each task in performance tests. Four out of 5 elephants, all juveniles, successfully learned the trunk wash in 35 sessions or fewer, with each session lasting a mean duration of 12 min. The elephants' performance improved from a mean success rate of 39.0% to 89.3% during the course of the training. This study proves that it is feasible to efficiently train juvenile, free-contact, traditionally trained elephants in Nepal to voluntarily and reliably participate in a trunk wash using only SPR techniques.

  14. The Proteus syndrome: the Elephant Man diagnosed.

    PubMed

    Tibbles, J A; Cohen, M M

    1986-09-13

    Sir Frederick Treves first showed Joseph Merrick, the famous Elephant Man, to the Pathological Society of London in 1884. A diagnosis of neurofibromatosis was suggested in 1909 and was widely accepted. There is no evidence, however, of café au lait spots or histological proof of neurofibromas. It is also clear that Joseph Merrick's manifestations were much more bizarre than those commonly seen in neurofibromatosis. Evidence indicates that Merrick suffered from the Proteus syndrome and had the following features compatible with this diagnosis: macrocephaly; hyperostosis of the skull; hypertrophy of long bones; and thickened skin and subcutaneous tissues, particularly of the hands and feet, including plantar hyperplasia, lipomas, and other unspecified subcutaneous masses.

  15. Limiting parental feedback disrupts vocal development in marmoset monkeys

    PubMed Central

    Gultekin, Yasemin B.; Hage, Steffen R.

    2017-01-01

    Vocalizations of human infants undergo dramatic changes across the first year by becoming increasingly mature and speech-like. Human vocal development is partially dependent on learning by imitation through social feedback between infants and caregivers. Recent studies revealed similar developmental processes being influenced by parental feedback in marmoset monkeys for apparently innate vocalizations. Marmosets produce infant-specific vocalizations that disappear after the first postnatal months. However, it is yet unclear whether parental feedback is an obligate requirement for proper vocal development. Using quantitative measures to compare call parameters and vocal sequence structure we show that, in contrast to normally raised marmosets, marmosets that were separated from parents after the third postnatal month still produced infant-specific vocal behaviour at subadult stages. These findings suggest a significant role of social feedback on primate vocal development until the subadult stages and further show that marmoset monkeys are a compelling model system for early human vocal development. PMID:28090084

  16. Blood temperature profiles of diving elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Meir, Jessica U; Ponganis, Paul J

    2010-01-01

    Hypothermia-induced reductions in metabolic rate have been proposed to suppress metabolism and prolong the duration of aerobic metabolism during dives of marine mammals and birds. To determine whether core hypothermia might contribute to the repetitive long-duration dives of the northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris, blood temperature profiles were obtained in translocated juvenile elephant seals equipped with a thermistor and backpack recorder. Representative temperature (the y-intercept of the mean temperature vs. dive duration relationship) was 37.2 degrees C +/- 0.6 degrees C (n=3 seals) in the extradural vein, 38.1 degrees C +/- 0.7 degrees C (n = 4 seals) in the hepatic sinus, and 38.8 degrees +/- 1.6 degrees C (n = 6 deals) in the aorta. Mean temperature was significantly though weakly negatively related to dive duration in all but one seal. Mean venous temperatures of all dives of individual seals ranged between 36 degrees and 38 degrees C, while mean arterial temperatures ranged between 35 degrees and 39 degrees C. Transient decreases in venous and arterial temperatures to as low as 30 degrees -33 degrees C occurred in some dives >30 min (0.1% of dives in the study). The lack of significant core hypothermia during routine dives (10-30 min) and only a weak negative correlation of mean temperature with dive duration do not support the hypothesis that a cold-induced Q(10) effect contributes to metabolic suppression of central tissues during dives. The wide range of arterial temperatures while diving and the transient declines in temperature during long dives suggest that alterations in blood flow patterns and peripheral heat loss contribute to thermoregulation during diving.

  17. Afferents from vocal motor and respiratory effectors are recruited during vocal production in juvenile songbirds.

    PubMed

    Bottjer, Sarah W; To, Michelle

    2012-08-08

    Learned behaviors require coordination of diverse sensory inputs with motivational and motor systems. Although mechanisms underlying vocal learning in songbirds have focused primarily on auditory inputs, it is likely that sensory inputs from vocal effectors also provide essential feedback. We investigated the role of somatosensory and respiratory inputs from vocal effectors of juvenile zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) during the stage of sensorimotor integration when they are learning to imitate a previously memorized tutor song. We report that song production induced expression of the immediate early gene product Fos in trigeminal regions that receive hypoglossal afferents from the tongue and syrinx (the main vocal organ). Furthermore, unilateral lesion of hypoglossal afferents greatly diminished singing-induced Fos expression on the side ipsilateral to the lesion, but not on the intact control side. In addition, unilateral lesion of the vagus reduced Fos expression in the ipsilateral nucleus of the solitary tract in singing birds. Lesion of the hypoglossal nerve to the syrinx greatly disrupted vocal behavior, whereas lesion of the hypoglossal nerve to the tongue exerted no obvious disruption and lesions of the vagus caused some alterations to song behavior. These results provide the first functional evidence that somatosensory and respiratory feedback from peripheral effectors is activated during vocal production and conveyed to brainstem regions. Such feedback is likely to play an important role in vocal learning during sensorimotor integration in juvenile birds and in maintaining stereotyped vocal behavior in adults.

  18. Field application of serodiagnostics to identify elephants with Tuberculosis prior to case confirmation by culture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Three serologic methods for antibody detection in elephant tuberculosis (TB), multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA), ElephantTB STAT-PAK kit, and DPP VetTB test, were validated prospectively using serial serum samples from 14 captive elephants in 5 countries which were diagnosed with TB by positive...

  19. 78 FR 690 - Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-01-04

    ... Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants AGENCY... regulations as related to elephant tuberculosis as well as to aid users in their compliance with those... Tuberculosis in Elephants'' developed by The National Tuberculosis Working Group for Zoo and Wildlife...

  20. Correlation between vocal functions and glottal measurements in patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis.

    PubMed

    Inagi, K; Khidr, A A; Ford, C N; Bless, D M; Heisey, D M

    1997-06-01

    Observations and analysis of glottal characteristics are critical in choosing the best modality for surgery in patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVP). This study suggests that multiple glottal characteristics influence the vocal product in patients with UVP. In addition to the horizontal position of the paralyzed vocal fold (deviation from the midline), the glottal area, degree of bowing of the paralyzed and contralateral vocal folds, maximum separation between vocal folds, compensatory glottal maneuvers, and the vertical glottic closure plane significantly influenced the quality of the voice. Clinicians should be aware of these observations to facilitate treatment planning and assessment of the results of surgical procedures used to improve voice quality in cases of UVP.

  1. Gender differences affecting vocal health of women in vocally demanding careers

    PubMed Central

    Hunter, Eric J.; Smith, Marshall E.; Tanner, Kristine

    2012-01-01

    Studies suggest that occupational voice users have a greater incidence of vocal issues than the general population. Women have been found to experience vocal health problems more frequently than men, regardless of their occupation. Traditionally, it has been assumed that differences in the laryngeal system are the cause of this disproportion. Nevertheless, it is valuable to identify other potential gender distinctions which may make women more vulnerable to voice disorders. A search of the literature was conducted for gender-specific characteristics which might impact the vocal health of women. This search can be used by healthcare practitioners to help female patients avoid serious vocal health injuries, as well as to better treat women who already suffer from such vocal health issues. PMID:21722077

  2. Avian vocal mimicry: a unified conceptual framework.

    PubMed

    Dalziell, Anastasia H; Welbergen, Justin A; Igic, Branislav; Magrath, Robert D

    2015-05-01

    Mimicry is a classical example of adaptive signal design. Here, we review the current state of research into vocal mimicry in birds. Avian vocal mimicry is a conspicuous and often spectacular form of animal communication, occurring in many distantly related species. However, the proximate and ultimate causes of vocal mimicry are poorly understood. In the first part of this review, we argue that progress has been impeded by conceptual confusion over what constitutes vocal mimicry. We propose a modified version of Vane-Wright's (1980) widely used definition of mimicry. According to our definition, a vocalisation is mimetic if the behaviour of the receiver changes after perceiving the acoustic resemblance between the mimic and the model, and the behavioural change confers a selective advantage on the mimic. Mimicry is therefore specifically a functional concept where the resemblance between heterospecific sounds is a target of selection. It is distinct from other forms of vocal resemblance including those that are the result of chance or common ancestry, and those that have emerged as a by-product of other processes such as ecological convergence and selection for large song-type repertoires. Thus, our definition provides a general and functionally coherent framework for determining what constitutes vocal mimicry, and takes account of the diversity of vocalisations that incorporate heterospecific sounds. In the second part we assess and revise hypotheses for the evolution of avian vocal mimicry in the light of our new definition. Most of the current evidence is anecdotal, but the diverse contexts and acoustic structures of putative vocal mimicry suggest that mimicry has multiple functions across and within species. There is strong experimental evidence that vocal mimicry can be deceptive, and can facilitate parasitic interactions. There is also increasing support for the use of vocal mimicry in predator defence, although the mechanisms are unclear. Less progress has

  3. Anthropogenic noise affects vocal interactions.

    PubMed

    McMullen, Heather; Schmidt, Rouven; Kunc, Hansjoerg P

    2014-03-01

    Animal communication plays a crucial role in many species, and it involves a sender producing a signal and a receiver responding to that signal. The shape of a signal is determined by selection pressures acting upon it. One factor that exerts selection on acoustic signals is the acoustic environment through which the signal is transmitted. Recent experimental studies clearly show that senders adjust their signals in response to increased levels of anthropogenic noise. However, to understand how noise affects the whole process of communication, it is vital to know how noise affects the receiver's response during vocal interactions. Therefore, we experimentally manipulated ambient noise levels to expose male European robins (Erithacus rubecula) to two playback treatments consisting of the same song: one with noise and another one without noise. We found that males responding to a conspecific in a noise polluted environment increased minimum frequency and decreased song complexity and song duration. Thus, we show that the whole process of communication is affected by noise, not just the behaviour of the sender.

  4. Stuttering: A novel bullfrog vocalization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simmons, Andrea; Suggs, Dianne

    2001-05-01

    The advertisement call of male bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) consists of a series of individual croaks, each of which contains multiple harmonics with a missing or attenuated fundamental frequency of approximately 100 Hz. The envelope of individual croaks has typically been represented in the literature as smooth and unmodulated. From an analysis of 5251 advertisement calls from 17 different choruses over two mating seasons, we show that males add an extra modulation (around 4 Hz) to the envelope of individual croaks, following specific rules. We term these extra modulations stutters. Neither single croak calls nor the first croak in multiple croak calls contains stutters. When stuttering begins, it does so with a croak containing a single stutter, and the number of stutters increases linearly (plus or minus 1 stutter, up to 4 stutters) with the number of croaks. This pattern is stable across individual males (N=10). Playback experiments reveal that vocal responses to stuttered and nonstuttered calls vary with proximity to the stimulus. Close males respond with nonstuttered calls, while far males respond with stuttered calls. The data suggest that nonstuttered calls are used for aggressive or territorial purposes, while stuttered calls are used to attract females.

  5. Stuttering: A novel bullfrog vocalization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simmons, Andrea; Suggs, Dianne

    2004-05-01

    The advertisement call of male bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) consists of a series of individual croaks, each of which contains multiple harmonics with a missing or attenuated fundamental frequency of approximately 100 Hz. The envelope of individual croaks has typically been represented in the literature as smooth and unmodulated. From an analysis of 5251 advertisement calls from 17 different choruses over two mating seasons, we show that males add an extra modulation (around 4 Hz) to the envelope of individual croaks, following specific rules. We term these extra modulations stutters. Neither single croak calls nor the first croak in multiple croak calls contains stutters. When stuttering begins, it does so with a croak containing a single stutter, and the number of stutters increases linearly (plus or minus 1 stutter, up to 4 stutters) with the number of croaks. This pattern is stable across individual males (N=10). Playback experiments reveal that vocal responses to stuttered and nonstuttered calls vary with proximity to the stimulus. Close males respond with nonstuttered calls, while far males respond with stuttered calls. The data suggest that nonstuttered calls are used for aggressive or territorial purposes, while stuttered calls are used to attract females.

  6. Variations in an African Grey parrot's speech patterns following ignored and denied requests.

    PubMed

    Colbert-White, Erin N; Hall, Hannah C; Fragaszy, Dorothy M

    2016-05-01

    Communicative competence is one measure of an individual's ability to navigate conversations with social partners. The current study explored the possibility of basic communicative competence in a non-mammal speaker, a speech-using African Grey parrot. Spontaneous conversations between one Grey named Cosmo and her caregiver were recorded, from which three corpora (i.e., bodies of text) of Cosmo's vocalizations were developed: (1) Baseline: Vocalizations containing no requests, (2) Ignored Requests: Vocalizations immediately following Cosmo's caregiver ignoring Cosmo's requests, and (3) Denied Requests: Vocalizations immediately following Cosmo's caregiver denying Cosmo's requests. The distributions of social (e.g., "I love you," kiss sounds) and nonsocial (e.g., answering machine beeps, "That's squirrel") vocalizations, as well as speech and nonword vocalizations, were statistically different across the three corpora. Additionally, qualitative analysis of the datasets indicated Cosmo was persistent in repeating vocalizations when denied and ignored, and interrupted her caregiver more often when requests were denied compared to ignored. Neither repetition nor interruption occurred during the Baseline conversations. The data indicate that despite the outcome being the same (i.e., request was unmet), Cosmo treated an ignored request differently than a denied request, modifying her vocalizations in accord with the specific context. Such modification is evidence of basic communicative competence.

  7. Woody encroachment over 70 years in South African savannahs: overgrazing, global change or extinction aftershock?

    PubMed

    Stevens, Nicola; Erasmus, B F N; Archibald, S; Bond, W J

    2016-09-19

    Woody encroachment in 'open' biomes like grasslands and savannahs is occurring globally. Both local and global drivers, including elevated CO2, have been implicated in these increases. The relative importance of different processes is unresolved as there are few multi-site, multi-land-use evaluations of woody plant encroachment. We measured 70 years of woody cover changes over a 1020 km(2) area covering four land uses (commercial ranching, conservation with elephants, conservation without elephants and communal rangelands) across a rainfall gradient in South African savannahs. Different directions of woody cover change would be expected for each different land use, unless a global factor is causing the increases. Woody cover change was measured between 1940 and 2010 using the aerial photo record. Detection of woody cover from each aerial photograph was automated using eCognitions' Object-based image analysis (OBIA). Woody cover doubled in all land uses across the rainfall gradient, except in conservation areas with elephants in low-rainfall savannahs. Woody cover in 2010 in low-rainfall savannahs frequently exceeded the maximum woody cover threshold predicted for African savannahs. The results indicate that a global factor, of which elevated CO2 is the likely candidate, may be driving encroachment. Elephants in low-rainfall savannahs prevent encroachment and localized megafaunal extinction is a probable additional cause of encroachment.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tropical grassy biomes: linking ecology, human use and conservation'.

  8. Demographic Variables for Wild Asian Elephants Using Longitudinal Observations

    PubMed Central

    de Silva, Shermin; Webber, C. Elizabeth; Weerathunga, U. S.; Pushpakumara, T. V.; Weerakoon, Devaka K.; Wittemyer, George

    2013-01-01

    Detailed demographic data on wild Asian elephants have been difficult to collect due to habitat characteristics of much of the species’ remaining range. Such data, however, are critical for understanding and modeling population processes in this endangered species. We present data from six years of an ongoing study of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka. This relatively undisturbed population numbering over one thousand elephants is individually monitored, providing cohort-based information on mortality and reproduction. Reproduction was seasonal, such that most births occurred during the long inter-monsoon dry season and peaked in May. During the study, the average age at first reproduction was 13.4 years and the 50th percentile inter-birth interval was approximately 6 years. Birth sex ratios did not deviate significantly from parity. Fecundity was relatively stable throughout the observed reproductive life of an individual (ages 11–60), averaging between 0.13–0.17 female offspring per individual per year. Mortalities and injuries based on carcasses and disappearances showed that males were significantly more likely than females to be killed or injured through anthropogenic activity. Overall, however, most observed injuries did not appear to be fatal. This population exhibits higher fecundity and density relative to published estimates on other Asian elephant populations, possibly enhanced by present range constriction. Understanding the factors responsible for these demographic dynamics can shed insight on the future needs of this elephant population, with probable parallels to other populations in similar settings. PMID:24376581

  9. Vocal effort and voice handicap among teachers.

    PubMed

    Sampaio, Márcio Cardoso; dos Reis, Eduardo José Farias Borges; Carvalho, Fernando Martins; Porto, Lauro Antonio; Araújo, Tânia Maria

    2012-11-01

    The relationship between voice handicap and professional vocal effort was investigated among teachers in a cross-sectional study of census nature on 4496 teachers within the public elementary education network in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Voice handicap (the outcome of interest) was evaluated using the Voice Handicap Index 10. The main exposure, the lifetime vocal effort index, was obtained as the product of the number of years working as a teacher multiplied by the mean weekly working hours. The prevalence of voice handicap was 28.8% among teachers with high professional vocal effort and 21.3% among those with acceptable vocal effort, thus yielding a crude prevalence ratio (PR) of 1.36 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.14-1.61). In the final logistic model, the prevalence of voice handicap was statistically associated with the professional vocal effort index (PR=1.47; 95% CI=1.19-1.82), adjusted according to sex, microphone availability in the classroom, excessive noise, pressure from the school management, heartburn, and rhinitis.

  10. Vocal repertoire of the social giant otter.

    PubMed

    Leuchtenberger, Caroline; Sousa-Lima, Renata; Duplaix, Nicole; Magnusson, William E; Mourão, Guilherme

    2014-11-01

    According to the "social intelligence hypothesis," species with complex social interactions have more sophisticated communication systems. Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) live in groups with complex social interactions. It is likely that the vocal communication of giant otters is more sophisticated than previous studies suggest. The objectives of the current study were to describe the airborne vocal repertoire of giant otters in the Pantanal area of Brazil, to analyze call types within different behavioral contexts, and to correlate vocal complexity with level of sociability of mustelids to verify whether or not the result supports the social intelligence hypothesis. The behavior of nine giant otters groups was observed. Vocalizations recorded were acoustically and statistically analyzed to describe the species' repertoire. The repertoire was comprised by 15 sound types emitted in different behavioral contexts. The main behavioral contexts of each sound type were significantly associated with the acoustic variable ordination of different sound types. A strong correlation between vocal complexity and sociability was found for different species, suggesting that the communication systems observed in the family mustelidae support the social intelligence hypothesis.

  11. Clinical evaluation of vocal fold paralysis.

    PubMed

    Richardson, Brent E; Bastian, Robert W

    2004-02-01

    Vocal fold paralysis is regarded as a sign of other pathologic findings until investigation has proven that there is no lesion to explain the paralysis. We have outlined a cost-effective and time- and labor-efficient method for the clinical evaluation of vocal fold paralysis, including a focused history; vocal capability assessment to find deficits in the function of palate,pharynx, and larynx: and, finally, an intense examination under topical anesthesia to demonstrate these deficits. In essence, it is the endoscopic version of a radiographic study from the skull base through the aortic arch. This method is streamlined as compared with prior protocols for evaluation of vocal fold paralysis, because it directs the necessary further workup according to the likely site of the lesion as indicated by the extended physical examination and can be conducted entirely in the physician's office. Radiographic workup should include CT of the skull base through the upper mediastinum if solely a recurrent nerve paralysis is present; it should include MRI of the skull base if high vagal signs and symptoms are present. If MRI is negative, CT may also be needed for complete evaluation. Neurologic signs that are not all ipsilateral require MRI of the brain and consultation with a neurologist. Esophageal obstruction combined with vocal fold paralysis mandates evaluation via esophagoscopy or an esophagram.

  12. Viscoelastic properties of the false vocal fold

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Roger W.

    2004-05-01

    The biomechanical properties of vocal fold tissues have been the focus of many previous studies, as vocal fold viscoelasticity critically dictates the acoustics and biomechanics of phonation. However, not much is known about the viscoelastic response of the ventricular fold or false vocal fold. It has been shown both clinically and in computer simulations that the false vocal fold may contribute significantly to the aerodynamics and sound generation processes of human voice production, with or without flow-induced oscillation of the false fold. To better understand the potential role of the false fold in phonation, this paper reports some preliminary measurements on the linear and nonlinear viscoelastic behavior of false vocal fold tissues. Linear viscoelastic shear properties of human false fold tissue samples were measured by a high-frequency controlled-strain rheometer as a function of frequency, and passive uniaxial tensile stress-strain response of the tissue samples was measured by a muscle lever system as a function of strain and loading rate. Elastic moduli (Young's modulus and shear modulus) of the false fold tissues were calculated from the measured data. [Work supported by NIH.

  13. Impact of Vocal Tract Resonance on the Perception of Voice Quality Changes Caused by Varying Vocal Fold Stiffness

    PubMed Central

    Signorello, Rosario; Zhang, Zhaoyan; Gerratt, Bruce; Kreiman, Jody

    2016-01-01

    Summary Experiments using animal and human larynx models are often conducted without a vocal tract. While it is often assumed that the absence of a vocal tract has only small effects on vocal fold vibration, it is not actually known how sound production and quality are affected. In this study, the validity of using data obtained in the absence of a vocal tract for voice perception studies was investigated. Using a two-layer self-oscillating physical model, three series of voice stimuli were created: one produced with conditions of left-right symmetric vocal fold stiffness, and two with left-right asymmetries in vocal fold body stiffness. Each series included a set of stimuli created with a physical vocal tract, and a second set created without a physical vocal tract. Stimuli were re-synthesized to equalize the mean F0 for each series and normalized for amplitude. Listeners were asked to evaluate the three series in a sort-and-rate task. Multidimensional scaling analysis was applied to examine the perceptual interaction between the voice source and the vocal tract resonances. The results showed that the presence or absence of a vocal tract can significantly affect perception of voice quality changes due to parametric changes in vocal fold properties, except when the parametric changes in vocal fold properties produced an abrupt shift in vocal fold vibratory pattern resulting in a salient quality change. PMID:27134616

  14. Vocal tones influence young children's responses to prohibitions.

    PubMed

    Dahl, Audun; Tran, Amy Q

    2016-12-01

    Vocal reactions to child transgressions convey information about the nature of those transgressions. The current research investigated children's ability to make use of such vocal reactions. Study 1 investigated infants' compliance with a vocal prohibition telling them to stay away from a toy. Compared to younger infants, older infants showed greater compliance with prohibitions elicited by moral (interpersonal harm) transgressions but not with prohibitions elicited by pragmatic (inconvenience) transgressions. Study 2 investigated preschoolers' use of firm-stern vocalizations (associated with moral transgressions) and positive vocalizations (associated with pragmatic transgressions). Most children guessed that the firm-stern vocalizations were uttered in response to a moral transgression and the positive vocalizations were uttered in response to a pragmatic transgression. These two studies suggest that children use vocal tones, along with other experiences, to guide their compliance with and interpretation of prohibitions.

  15. LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT. The developmental dynamics of marmoset monkey vocal production.

    PubMed

    Takahashi, D Y; Fenley, A R; Teramoto, Y; Narayanan, D Z; Borjon, J I; Holmes, P; Ghazanfar, A A

    2015-08-14

    Human vocal development occurs through two parallel interactive processes that transform infant cries into more mature vocalizations, such as cooing sounds and babbling. First, natural categories of sounds change as the vocal apparatus matures. Second, parental vocal feedback sensitizes infants to certain features of those sounds, and the sounds are modified accordingly. Paradoxically, our closest living ancestors, nonhuman primates, are thought to undergo few or no production-related acoustic changes during development, and any such changes are thought to be impervious to social feedback. Using early and dense sampling, quantitative tracking of acoustic changes, and biomechanical modeling, we showed that vocalizations in infant marmoset monkeys undergo dramatic changes that cannot be solely attributed to simple consequences of growth. Using parental interaction experiments, we found that contingent parental feedback influences the rate of vocal development. These findings overturn decades-old ideas about primate vocalizations and show that marmoset monkeys are a compelling model system for early vocal development in humans.

  16. Quantity and configuration of available elephant habitat and related conservation concerns in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain of Sabah, Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Estes, Jason G; Othman, Nurzhafarina; Ismail, Sulaiman; Ancrenaz, Marc; Goossens, Benoit; Ambu, Laurentius N; Estes, Anna B; Palmiotto, Peter A

    2012-01-01

    The approximately 300 (298, 95% CI: 152-581) elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo are a priority sub-population for Borneo's total elephant population (2,040, 95% CI: 1,184-3,652). Habitat loss and human-elephant conflict are recognized as the major threats to Bornean elephant survival. In the Kinabatangan region, human settlements and agricultural development for oil palm drive an intense fragmentation process. Electric fences guard against elephant crop raiding but also remove access to suitable habitat patches. We conducted expert opinion-based least-cost analyses, to model the quantity and configuration of available suitable elephant habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan, and called this the Elephant Habitat Linkage. At 184 km(2), our estimate of available habitat is 54% smaller than the estimate used in the State's Elephant Action Plan for the Lower Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (400 km(2)). During high flood levels, available habitat is reduced to only 61 km(2). As a consequence, short-term elephant densities are likely to surge during floods to 4.83 km(-2) (95% CI: 2.46-9.41), among the highest estimated for forest-dwelling elephants in Asia or Africa. During severe floods, the configuration of remaining elephant habitat and the surge in elephant density may put two villages at elevated risk of human-elephant conflict. Lower Kinabatangan elephants are vulnerable to the natural disturbance regime of the river due to their limited dispersal options. Twenty bottlenecks less than one km wide throughout the Elephant Habitat Linkage, have the potential to further reduce access to suitable habitat. Rebuilding landscape connectivity to isolated habitat patches and to the North Kinabatangan Managed Elephant Range (less than 35 km inland) are conservation priorities that would increase the quantity of available habitat, and may work as a mechanism to allow population release, lower elephant density, reduce human-elephant

  17. Diagnostic and therapeutic pitfalls in benign vocal fold diseases

    PubMed Central

    Bohlender, Jörg

    2013-01-01

    More than half of patients presenting with hoarseness show benign vocal fold changes. The clinician should be familiar with the anatomy, physiology and functional aspects of voice disorders and also the modern diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities in order to ensure an optimal and patient specific management. This review article focuses on the diagnostic and therapeutic limitations and difficulties of treatment of benign vocal fold tumors, the management and prevention of scarred vocal folds and the issue of unilateral vocal fold paresis. PMID:24403969

  18. The occurrence of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): first case of EEHV4 in Asia.

    PubMed

    Sripiboon, Supaphen; Tankaew, Pallop; Lungka, Grishda; Thitaram, Chatchote

    2013-03-01

    Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a type of herpesvirus that causes acute hemorrhagic disease in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and is often fatal, especially in calves. This study describes the postmortem evaluation of two captive-born Asian elephants (2 and 3 yr of age, respectively) diagnosed with EEHV in Thailand. Both elephants presented only mild depression, lethargy, and anorexia before death within 24 hr of symptom onset. Necropsies were performed, and tissue samples were tested for EEHV viral presence using polymerase chain reaction. Molecular and phylogenetic evidence illustrated two types of EEHV, which were closely related to EEHV1A in Case 1 and EEHV4 in Case 2. Pathologic findings differed between the cases. More specific organ tropism was found in Case 1, where mainly the cardiovascular system was affected. In contrast, in Case 2, hemorrhages were noted in most organs, including in the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. This report is the first to document EEHV4 in Asia and the second case of this strain to be identified in an elephant worldwide.

  19. Positive Reinforcement Training for a Trunk Wash in Nepal's Working Elephants: Demonstrating Alternatives to Traditional Elephant Training Techniques

    PubMed Central

    Fagen, Ariel; Acharya, Narayan; Kaufman, Gretchen E.

    2016-01-01

    Many trainers of animals in the zoo now rely on positive reinforcement training to teach animals to voluntarily participate in husbandry and veterinary procedures in an effort to improve behavioral reliability, captive management, and welfare. However, captive elephant handlers in Nepal still rely heavily on punishment- and aversion-based methods. The aim of this project was to determine the effectiveness of secondary positive reinforcement (SPR) in training free-contact elephants in Nepal to voluntarily participate in a trunk wash for the purpose of tuberculosis testing. Five female elephants, 4 juveniles and 1 adult, were enrolled in the project. Data were collected in the form of minutes of training, number of offers made for each training task, and success rate for each task in performance tests. Four out of 5 elephants, all juveniles, successfully learned the trunk wash in 35 sessions or fewer, with each session lasting a mean duration of 12 min. The elephants’ performance improved from a mean success rate of 39.0% to 89.3% during the course of the training. This study proves that it is feasible to efficiently train juvenile, free-contact, traditionally trained elephants in Nepal to voluntarily and reliably participate in a trunk wash using only SPR techniques. PMID:24410366

  20. Killer whales are capable of vocal learning

    PubMed Central

    Foote, Andrew D; Griffin, Rachael M; Howitt, David; Larsson, Lisa; Miller, Patrick J.O; Rus Hoelzel, A

    2006-01-01

    The production learning of vocalizations by manipulation of the sound production organs to alter the physical structure of sound has been demonstrated in only a few mammals. In this natural experiment, we document the vocal behaviour of two juvenile killer whales, Orcinus orca, separated from their natal pods, which are the only cases of dispersal seen during the three decades of observation of their populations. We find mimicry of California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) barks, demonstrating the vocal production learning ability for one of the calves. We also find differences in call usage (compared to the natal pod) that may reflect the absence of a repertoire model from tutors or some unknown effect related to isolation or context. PMID:17148275

  1. Oral Breathing Challenge in Participants with Vocal Attrition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sivasankar, Mahalakshmi; Fisher, Kimberly V.

    2003-01-01

    Vocal folds undergo osmotic challenge by mouth breathing during singing, exercising, and loud speaking. Just 15 min of obligatory oral breathing, to dry the vocal folds, increases phonation threshold pressure (P[subscript th]) and expiratory vocal effort in healthy speakers (M. Sivasankar & K. Fisher, 2002). We questioned whether oral breathing is…

  2. VOCAL: Voice Oriented Curriculum Author Language. Technical Report No. 291.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinckley, Michael; And Others

    VOCAL (Voice Oriented Curriculum Author Language) is designed to facilitate the authoring of computer assisted curricula which incorporate highly interactive audio and text presentations. Lessons written in VOCAL are intended to be patterned after the style of informal classroom lectures. VOCAL contains features that allow the author to specify…

  3. Vocal behavior and vocal central pattern generator organization diverge among toadfishes.

    PubMed

    Chagnaud, Boris P; Bass, Andrew H

    2014-01-01

    Among fishes, acoustic communication is best studied in toadfishes, a single order and family that includes species commonly known as toadfish and midshipman. However, there is a lack of comparative anatomical and physiological studies, making it difficult to identify both shared and derived mechanisms of vocalization among toadfishes. Here, vocal nerve labeling and intracellular in vivo recording and staining delineated the hindbrain vocal network of the Gulf toadfish Opsanus beta. Dextran-biotin labeling of the vocal nerve or intracellular neurobiotin fills of motoneurons delineated a midline vocal motor nucleus (VMN). Motoneurons showed bilaterally extensive dendritic arbors both within and lateral to the paired motor nuclei. The motoneuron activity matched that of the spike-like vocal nerve motor volley that determines the natural call duration and frequency. Ipsilateral vocal nerve labeling with biocytin or neurobiotin yielded dense bilateral transneuronal filling of motoneurons and coextensive columns of premotor neurons. These premotor neurons generated pacemaker-like action potentials matched 1:1 with vocal nerve and motoneuron firing. Transneuronal transport further revealed connectivity within and between the pacemaker-motor circuit and a rostral prepacemaker nucleus. Unlike the pacemaker-motor circuit, prepacemaker firing did not match the frequency of vocal nerve activity but instead was predictive of the duration of the vocal nerve volley that codes for call duration. Transneuronally labeled terminal-like boutons also occurred in auditory-recipient hindbrain nuclei, including neurons innervating the inner ear and lateral line organs. Together with studies of midshipman, we propose that separate premotor populations coding vocal frequency and duration with direct premotor coupling to auditory-lateral line nuclei are plesiomorphic characters for toadfishes. Unlike in midshipman, transneuronal labeling in toadfishes reveals an expansive column of

  4. Comparative Genome Analysis of Four Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses, EEHV3, EEHV4, EEHV5, and EEHV6, from Cases of Hemorrhagic Disease or Viremia

    PubMed Central

    Zong, Jian-Chao; Latimer, Erin M.; Long, Simon Y.; Richman, Laura K.; Heaggans, Sarah Y.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT The genomes of three types of novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses (elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1A [EEHV1A], EEHV1B, and EEHV2) associated with lethal hemorrhagic disease in Asian elephants have been previously well characterized and assigned to a new Proboscivirus genus. Here we have generated 112 kb of DNA sequence data from segments of four more types of EEHV by direct targeted PCR from blood samples or necropsy tissue samples from six viremic elephants. Comparative phylogenetic analysis of nearly 30 protein-encoding genes of EEHV5 and EEHV6 show that they diverge uniformly by nearly 20% from their closest relatives, EEHV2 and EEHV1A, respectively, and are likely to have similar overall gene content and genome organization. In contrast, seven EEHV3 and EEHV4 genes analyzed differ from those of all other EEHVs by 37% and have a G+C content of 63% compared to just 42% for the others. Three strains of EEHV5 analyzed clustered into two partially chimeric subgroups EEHV5A and EEHV5B that diverge by 19% within three small noncontiguous segments totaling 6.2 kb. We conclude that all six EEHV types should be designated as independent species within a proposed new fourth Deltaherpesvirinae subfamily of mammalian herpesviruses. These virus types likely initially diverged close to 100 million years ago when the ancestors of modern elephants split from all other placental mammals and then evolved into two major branches with high- or low-G+C content about 35 million years ago. Later additional branching events subsequently generated three paired sister taxon lineages of which EEHV1 plus EEHV6, EEHV5 plus EEHV2, and EEHV4 plus EEHV3 may represent Asian and African elephant versions, respectively. IMPORTANCE One of the factors threatening the long-term survival of endangered Asian elephants in both wild range countries and in captive breeding populations in zoos is a highly lethal hemorrhagic herpesvirus disease that has killed at least 70 young Asian

  5. The Effects of Class Voice and Breath Management Instruction on Vocal Knowledge, Attitudes, and Vocal Performance among Elementary Education Majors.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Phillips, Kenneth H.; Vispoel, Walter P.

    Forty-three elementary education majors in three classes took part in this study of the effectiveness of class voice instruction for elementary school children on vocal knowledge, attitudes, and vocal performance of the study participants. Two classes were assigned to one of the treatment conditions (vocal instruction with breath emphasis and…

  6. The Value of Vocalizing: Five-Month-Old Infants Associate Their Own Noncry Vocalizations with Responses from Caregivers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Goldstein, Michael H.; Schwade, Jennifer A.; Bornstein, Marc H.

    2009-01-01

    The early noncry vocalizations of infants are salient social signals. Caregivers spontaneously respond to 30%-50% of these sounds, and their responsiveness to infants' prelinguistic noncry vocalizations facilitates the development of phonology and speech. Have infants learned that their vocalizations influence the behavior of social partners? If…

  7. Morphology of fetal vocal fold and associated structures.

    PubMed

    de Campos, Deivis; Ellwanger, Joel Henrique; da Costa Rosa, João Paulo; dos Santos, Iuri Pereira; Corbellini, Raquel Oliveira; Hoelscher, Rafael Henrique; Bagatini, Pamela Brambilla; Jotz, Geraldo Pereira; Xavier, Léder Leal

    2013-01-01

    This study is the first detailed qualitative morphologic description of the vocal fold and its associated structures (false vocal fold, larynx ventricle, epithelium, mucous glands, blood vessels, and vocal ligament) of a human fetus aged 25 weeks. In addition, a quantitative analysis of thyroarytenoid (TA) muscle fiber orientation is presented to investigate similarities with adult TA. Histologic cross sections from the vocal fold and the anterior, middle, and posterior regions of the TA muscle were examined bilaterally, and both qualitative and quantitative analyses show that the vocal fold and most of the associated structures are completely established in the studied sample.

  8. Vocal improvement after voice therapy in the treatment of benign vocal fold lesions.

    PubMed

    Schindler, A; Mozzanica, F; Ginocchio, D; Maruzzi, P; Atac, M; Ottaviani, F

    2012-10-01

    Benign vocal fold lesions are common in the general population, and have important public health implications and impact on patient quality of life. Nowadays, phonomicrosurgery is the most common treatment of these lesions. Voice therapy is generally associated in order to minimize detrimental vocal behaviours that increase the stress at the mid-membranous vocal folds. Nonetheless, the most appropriate standard of care for treating benign vocal fold lesion has not been established. The aim of this study was to analyze voice changes in a group of dysphonic patients affected by benign vocal fold lesions, evaluated with a multidimensional protocol before and after voice therapy. Sixteen consecutive patients, 12 females and 4 males, with a mean age of 49.7 years were enrolled. Each subject had 10 voice therapy sessions with an experienced speech/language pathologist for a period of 1-2 months, and was evaluated before and at the end of voice therapy with a multidimensional protocol that included self-assessment measures and videostroboscopic, perceptual, aerodynamic and acoustic ratings. Videostroboscopic examination did not reveal resolution of the initial pathology in any case. No improvement was observed in aerodynamic and perceptual ratings. A clear and significant improvement was visible on Wilcoxon signed-rank test for the mean values of Jitt%, Noise to Harmonic Ratio (NHR) and Voice Handicap Index (VHI) scores. Even if it is possible that, for benign vocal fold lesions, only a minor improvement of voice quality can be achieved after voice therapy, rehabilitation treatment still seems useful as demonstrated by improvement in self-assessment measures. If voice therapy is provided as an initial treatment to the patients with benign vocal fold lesions, this may lead to an improvement in the perceived voice quality, making surgical intervention unnecessary. This is one of the first reports on the efficacy of voice therapy in the management of benign vocal fold

  9. Dynamics of auditory-vocal interaction in monkey auditory cortex.

    PubMed

    Eliades, Steven J; Wang, Xiaoqin

    2005-10-01

    Single neurons in the primate auditory cortex exhibit vocalization-related modulations (excitatory or inhibitory) during self-initiated vocal production. Previous studies have shown that these modulations of cortical activity are variable in individual neurons' responses to multiple instances of vocalization and diverse between different cortical neurons. The present study investigated dynamic patterns of vocalization-related modulations and demonstrated that much of the variability in cortical modulations was related to the acoustic structures of self-produced vocalization. We found that suppression of single unit activity during multi-phrased vocalizations was temporally specific in that it was maintained during each phrase, but was released between phrases. Furthermore, the degree of suppression or excitation was correlated to the mean energy and frequency of the produced vocalizations, accounting for much of the response variability between multiple instances of vocalization. Simultaneous recordings of pairs of neurons from a single electrode revealed that the modulations by self-produced vocalizations in nearby neurons were largely uncorrelated. Additionally, vocalization-induced suppression was found to be preferentially distributed to upper cortical layers. Finally, we showed that the summation of all auditory cortical activity during vocalization, including both single and multi-unit responses, was weakly excitatory, consistent with observations from studies of the human brain during speech.

  10. Predicting Achievable Fundamental Frequency Ranges in Vocalization Across Species.

    PubMed

    Titze, Ingo; Riede, Tobias; Mau, Ted

    2016-06-01

    Vocal folds are used as sound sources in various species, but it is unknown how vocal fold morphologies are optimized for different acoustic objectives. Here we identify two main variables affecting range of vocal fold vibration frequency, namely vocal fold elongation and tissue fiber stress. A simple vibrating string model is used to predict fundamental frequency ranges across species of different vocal fold sizes. While average fundamental frequency is predominantly determined by vocal fold length (larynx size), range of fundamental frequency is facilitated by (1) laryngeal muscles that control elongation and by (2) nonlinearity in tissue fiber tension. One adaptation that would increase fundamental frequency range is greater freedom in joint rotation or gliding of two cartilages (thyroid and cricoid), so that vocal fold length change is maximized. Alternatively, tissue layers can develop to bear a disproportionate fiber tension (i.e., a ligament with high density collagen fibers), increasing the fundamental frequency range and thereby vocal versatility. The range of fundamental frequency across species is thus not simply one-dimensional, but can be conceptualized as the dependent variable in a multi-dimensional morphospace. In humans, this could allow for variations that could be clinically important for voice therapy and vocal fold repair. Alternative solutions could also have importance in vocal training for singing and other highly-skilled vocalizations.

  11. [Etiology, diagnosis, differential diagnosis and therapy of vocal fold paralysis].

    PubMed

    Reiter, R; Hoffmann, T K; Rotter, N; Pickhard, A; Scheithauer, M O; Brosch, S

    2014-03-01

    Etiology of vocal fold paralysis is broad: e. g. iatrogenic/traumatic, associated with neoplasms or with systemic diseases. The cause of idiopathic paralysis is unknown. The main symptom of unilateral vocal fold paralysis is hoarseness because of a remaining glottic gap during phonation. Patients with bilateral vocal fold paralysis typically have no impairment of the voice but dyspnea. Examination of patients with an idopathic vocal fold paralysis is a CT of the vagal nerve and recurrent laryngeal nerve from skull base to neck and mediastinum. Serological tests are not obligatory. Differential diagnosis of vocal fold immobility is vocal fold paralysis/neurological causes and arthrogene causes such as arytenoid subluxation, interarytenoid adhesion and vocal fold fixation in laryngeal carcinomas. Voice therapy is a promising approach for patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis, but not all patients benefit sufficiently. Temporary vocal fold augmentation by injection medialization results in satisfactory voice quality that is comparable with a thyroplasty. Patients with bilateral vocal fold immobility show typically dyspnea requiring immediate therapy such as temporary tracheotomy or reversible laterofixation of the paralyzed vocal chord. If the paralysis persists a definitive enlargement of the glottic airway by eg. arytenoidectomy needs to be performed.

  12. Predicting Achievable Fundamental Frequency Ranges in Vocalization Across Species

    PubMed Central

    Titze, Ingo; Riede, Tobias; Mau, Ted

    2016-01-01

    Vocal folds are used as sound sources in various species, but it is unknown how vocal fold morphologies are optimized for different acoustic objectives. Here we identify two main variables affecting range of vocal fold vibration frequency, namely vocal fold elongation and tissue fiber stress. A simple vibrating string model is used to predict fundamental frequency ranges across species of different vocal fold sizes. While average fundamental frequency is predominantly determined by vocal fold length (larynx size), range of fundamental frequency is facilitated by (1) laryngeal muscles that control elongation and by (2) nonlinearity in tissue fiber tension. One adaptation that would increase fundamental frequency range is greater freedom in joint rotation or gliding of two cartilages (thyroid and cricoid), so that vocal fold length change is maximized. Alternatively, tissue layers can develop to bear a disproportionate fiber tension (i.e., a ligament with high density collagen fibers), increasing the fundamental frequency range and thereby vocal versatility. The range of fundamental frequency across species is thus not simply one-dimensional, but can be conceptualized as the dependent variable in a multi-dimensional morphospace. In humans, this could allow for variations that could be clinically important for voice therapy and vocal fold repair. Alternative solutions could also have importance in vocal training for singing and other highly-skilled vocalizations. PMID:27309543

  13. Treatment of early stage vocal cord carcinoma

    SciTech Connect

    Ayers, G.

    1989-03-01

    The cure rates for early stage vocal cord cancer are excellent with primary radiotherapy. Voice quality remains as good or becomes better than prior to treatment. For the local failures that do occur, surgical salvage will yield ultimate cure rates of about 95% for T1 and 90% for T2 tumors.

  14. Vocal Pitch Discrimination in the Motor System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    D'Ausilio, Alessandro; Bufalari, Ilaria; Salmas, Paola; Busan, Pierpaolo; Fadiga, Luciano

    2011-01-01

    Speech production can be broadly separated into two distinct components: Phonation and Articulation. These two aspects require the efficient control of several phono-articulatory effectors. Speech is indeed generated by the vibration of the vocal-folds in the larynx (F0) followed by "filtering" by articulators, to select certain resonant…

  15. Gelada vocal sequences follow Menzerath's linguistic law.

    PubMed

    Gustison, Morgan L; Semple, Stuart; Ferrer-I-Cancho, Ramon; Bergman, Thore J

    2016-05-10

    Identifying universal principles underpinning diverse natural systems is a key goal of the life sciences. A powerful approach in addressing this goal has been to test whether patterns consistent with linguistic laws are found in nonhuman animals. Menzerath's law is a linguistic law that states that, the larger the construct, the smaller the size of its constituents. Here, to our knowledge, we present the first evidence that Menzerath's law holds in the vocal communication of a nonhuman species. We show that, in vocal sequences of wild male geladas (Theropithecus gelada), construct size (sequence size in number of calls) is negatively correlated with constituent size (duration of calls). Call duration does not vary significantly with position in the sequence, but call sequence composition does change with sequence size and most call types are abbreviated in larger sequences. We also find that intercall intervals follow the same relationship with sequence size as do calls. Finally, we provide formal mathematical support for the idea that Menzerath's law reflects compression-the principle of minimizing the expected length of a code. Our findings suggest that a common principle underpins human and gelada vocal communication, highlighting the value of exploring the applicability of linguistic laws in vocal systems outside the realm of language.

  16. Path Models of Vocal Emotion Communication.

    PubMed

    Bänziger, Tanja; Hosoya, Georg; Scherer, Klaus R

    2015-01-01

    We propose to use a comprehensive path model of vocal emotion communication, encompassing encoding, transmission, and decoding processes, to empirically model data sets on emotion expression and recognition. The utility of the approach is demonstrated for two data sets from two different cultures and languages, based on corpora of vocal emotion enactment by professional actors and emotion inference by naïve listeners. Lens model equations, hierarchical regression, and multivariate path analysis are used to compare the relative contributions of objectively measured acoustic cues in the enacted expressions and subjective voice cues as perceived by listeners to the variance in emotion inference from vocal expressions for four emotion families (fear, anger, happiness, and sadness). While the results confirm the central role of arousal in vocal emotion communication, the utility of applying an extended path modeling framework is demonstrated by the identification of unique combinations of distal cues and proximal percepts carrying information about specific emotion families, independent of arousal. The statistical models generated show that more sophisticated acoustic parameters need to be developed to explain the distal underpinnings of subjective voice quality percepts that account for much of the variance in emotion inference, in particular voice instability and roughness. The general approach advocated here, as well as the specific results, open up new research strategies for work in psychology (specifically emotion and social perception research) and engineering and computer science (specifically research and development in the domain of affective computing, particularly on automatic emotion detection and synthetic emotion expression in avatars).

  17. Patterns of Vocalization and Impression Formation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hayes, Donald P.; Bouma, Gary D.

    1975-01-01

    This article discusses the interactive behavior that accompanies verbal exchange. It specifically describes a set of experiments designed to isolate an important subset of interactive behavior, the vocal (as opposed to the verbal) and to relate this information to a wide range of social impressions resulting from verbal exchange. (Available from…

  18. Management of the Patient with Disruptive Vocalization.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sloane, Philip D.; Davidson, Susan; Buckwalter, Kathleen; Lindsey, Anthony; Ayers, Susan; Lenker, Vonda; Burgio, Louis D.

    1997-01-01

    Reports the results of a consensus meeting convened to provide guidelines for clinicians and make recommendations for researchers regarding disruptive vocalization (DV). Suggests that DV arises largely in persons with cognitive impairment and generally reflects an underlying need or discomfort. Managing DV involves appropriate identification of…

  19. Children's recognition of emotions from vocal cues.

    PubMed

    Sauter, Disa A; Panattoni, Charlotte; Happé, Francesca

    2013-03-01

    Emotional cues contain important information about the intentions and feelings of others. Despite a wealth of research into children's understanding of facial signals of emotions, little research has investigated the developmental trajectory of interpreting affective cues in the voice. In this study, 48 children ranging between 5 and 10 years were tested using forced-choice tasks with non-verbal vocalizations and emotionally inflected speech expressing different positive, neutral and negative states. Children as young as 5 years were proficient in interpreting a range of emotional cues from vocal signals. Consistent with previous work, performance was found to improve with age. Furthermore, the two tasks, examining recognition of non-verbal vocalizations and emotionally inflected speech, respectively, were sensitive to individual differences, with high correspondence of performance across the tasks. From this demonstration of children's ability to recognize emotions from vocal stimuli, we also conclude that this auditory emotion recognition task is suitable for a wide age range of children, providing a novel, empirical way to investigate children's affect recognition skills.

  20. Music Education Intervention Improves Vocal Emotion Recognition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mualem, Orit; Lavidor, Michal

    2015-01-01

    The current study is an interdisciplinary examination of the interplay among music, language, and emotions. It consisted of two experiments designed to investigate the relationship between musical abilities and vocal emotional recognition. In experiment 1 (N = 24), we compared the influence of two short-term intervention programs--music and…

  1. Production, Usage, and Comprehension in Animal Vocalizations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seyfarth, Robert M.; Cheney, Dorothy L.

    2010-01-01

    In this review, we place equal emphasis on production, usage, and comprehension because these components of communication may exhibit different developmental trajectories and be affected by different neural mechanisms. In the animal kingdom generally, learned, flexible vocal production is rare, appearing in only a few orders of birds and few…

  2. The role of vocal individuality in conservation

    PubMed Central

    Terry, Andrew MR; Peake, Tom M; McGregor, Peter K

    2005-01-01

    Identifying the individuals within a population can generate information on life history parameters, generate input data for conservation models, and highlight behavioural traits that may affect management decisions and error or bias within census methods. Individual animals can be discriminated by features of their vocalisations. This vocal individuality can be utilised as an alternative marking technique in situations where the marks are difficult to detect or animals are sensitive to disturbance. Vocal individuality can also be used in cases were the capture and handling of an animal is either logistically or ethically problematic. Many studies have suggested that vocal individuality can be used to count and monitor populations over time; however, few have explicitly tested the method in this role. In this review we discuss methods for extracting individuality information from vocalisations and techniques for using this to count and monitor populations over time. We present case studies in birds where vocal individuality has been applied to conservation and we discuss its role in mammals. PMID:15960848

  3. Functional flexibility in wild bonobo vocal behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Archbold, Jahmaira; Zuberbühler, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    A shared principle in the evolution of language and the development of speech is the emergence of functional flexibility, the capacity of vocal signals to express a range of emotional states independently of context and biological function. Functional flexibility has recently been demonstrated in the vocalisations of pre-linguistic human infants, which has been contrasted to the functionally fixed vocal behaviour of non-human primates. Here, we revisited the presumed chasm in functional flexibility between human and non-human primate vocal behaviour, with a study on our closest living primate relatives, the bonobo (Pan paniscus). We found that wild bonobos use a specific call type (the “peep”) across a range of contexts that cover the full valence range (positive-neutral-negative) in much of their daily activities, including feeding, travel, rest, aggression, alarm, nesting and grooming. Peeps were produced in functionally flexible ways in some contexts, but not others. Crucially, calls did not vary acoustically between neutral and positive contexts, suggesting that recipients take pragmatic information into account to make inferences about call meaning. In comparison, peeps during negative contexts were acoustically distinct. Our data suggest that the capacity for functional flexibility has evolutionary roots that predate the evolution of human speech. We interpret this evidence as an example of an evolutionary early transition away from fixed vocal signalling towards functional flexibility. PMID:26290789

  4. The Tufts Non-Vocal Communication Program.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Foulds, Richard A.; And Others

    Described are the efforts of the Biomedical Engineering Center in developing devices, particularly the Tufts Interactive Communicator (TIC) for the non-vocal severely physically disabled individual. It is noted that research has been conducted in the following areas: dictionary development, anticipatory communication, symbol communication, symbol…

  5. Enhanced Processing of Vocal Melodies in Childhood

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weiss, Michael W.; Schellenberg, E. Glenn; Trehub, Sandra E.; Dawber, Emily J.

    2015-01-01

    Music cognition is typically studied with instrumental stimuli. Adults remember melodies better, however, when they are presented in a biologically significant timbre (i.e., the human voice) than in various instrumental timbres (Weiss, Trehub, & Schellenberg, 2012). We examined the impact of vocal timbre on children's processing of melodies.…

  6. Path Models of Vocal Emotion Communication

    PubMed Central

    Bänziger, Tanja; Hosoya, Georg; Scherer, Klaus R.

    2015-01-01

    We propose to use a comprehensive path model of vocal emotion communication, encompassing encoding, transmission, and decoding processes, to empirically model data sets on emotion expression and recognition. The utility of the approach is demonstrated for two data sets from two different cultures and languages, based on corpora of vocal emotion enactment by professional actors and emotion inference by naïve listeners. Lens model equations, hierarchical regression, and multivariate path analysis are used to compare the relative contributions of objectively measured acoustic cues in the enacted expressions and subjective voice cues as perceived by listeners to the variance in emotion inference from vocal expressions for four emotion families (fear, anger, happiness, and sadness). While the results confirm the central role of arousal in vocal emotion communication, the utility of applying an extended path modeling framework is demonstrated by the identification of unique combinations of distal cues and proximal percepts carrying information about specific emotion families, independent of arousal. The statistical models generated show that more sophisticated acoustic parameters need to be developed to explain the distal underpinnings of subjective voice quality percepts that account for much of the variance in emotion inference, in particular voice instability and roughness. The general approach advocated here, as well as the specific results, open up new research strategies for work in psychology (specifically emotion and social perception research) and engineering and computer science (specifically research and development in the domain of affective computing, particularly on automatic emotion detection and synthetic emotion expression in avatars). PMID:26325076

  7. Mothers' Contingent Imitation Increases Infant Vocalizations.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pelaez-Nogueras, Martha; Gewirtz, Jacob L.

    This study compared the reinforcement effects of imitation to the elicitation effects of noncontingent maternal vocal stimulation. Subjects were 17 three- to six-month-old infants and their mothers. Infants received three successive experimental conditions: contingent imitation B1, noncontingent elicitations, and contingent imitation B2. Under the…

  8. Brown meagre vocalization rate increases during repetitive boat noise exposures: a possible case of vocal compensation.

    PubMed

    Picciulin, Marta; Sebastianutto, Linda; Codarin, Antonio; Calcagno, Giuliana; Ferrero, Enrico A

    2012-11-01

    This study investigated whether or not boat noise causes variations in brown meagre (Sciaena umbra) vocalizations recorded in a nearshore Mediterranean marine reserve. Six nocturnal experimental sessions were carried out from June to September 2009. In each of them, a recreational boat passed over vocalizing fish 6 times with 1 boat passage every 10 min. For this purpose three different boats were used in random order: an 8.5-m cabin-cruiser (CC), a 5-m fiberglass boat (FB), and a 7-m inflatable boat (INF). In situ continuous acoustic recordings were collected using a self-standing sonobuoy. Because boat noise levels largely exceeded both background noise and S. umbra vocalizations in the species' hearing frequency range, masking of acoustic communication was assumed. Although no immediate effect was observed during a single boat passage, the S. umbra mean pulse rate increased over multiple boat passages in the experimental condition but not in the control condition, excluding that the observed effect was due to a natural rise in fish vocalizations. The observed vocal enhancement may result either from an increased density of callers or from an increased number of pulses/sounds produced by already acoustically active individuals, as a form of vocal compensation. These two explanations are discussed.

  9. Early experience shapes vocal neural coding and perception in songbirds.

    PubMed

    Woolley, Sarah M N

    2012-09-01

    Songbirds, like humans, are highly accomplished vocal learners. The many parallels between speech and birdsong and conserved features of mammalian and avian auditory systems have led to the emergence of the songbird as a model system for studying the perceptual mechanisms of vocal communication. Laboratory research on songbirds allows the careful control of early life experience and high-resolution analysis of brain function during vocal learning, production, and perception. Here, I review what songbird studies have revealed about the role of early experience in the development of vocal behavior, auditory perception, and the processing of learned vocalizations by auditory neurons. The findings of these studies suggest general principles for how exposure to vocalizations during development and into adulthood influences the perception of learned vocal signals.

  10. Auditory lateralization of conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations in cats.

    PubMed

    Siniscalchi, Marcello; Laddago, Serena; Quaranta, Angelo

    2016-01-01

    Auditory lateralization in response to both conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations (dog vocalizations) was observed in 16 tabby cats (Felis catus). Six different vocalizations were used: cat "purring," "meowing" and "growling" and dog typical vocalizations of "disturbance," "isolation" and "play." The head-orienting paradigm showed that cats turned their head with the right ear leading (left hemisphere activation) in response to their typical-species vocalization ("meow" and "purring"); on the other hand, a clear bias in the use of the left ear (right hemisphere activation) was observed in response to vocalizations eliciting intense emotion (dogs' vocalizations of "disturbance" and "isolation"). Overall these findings suggest that auditory sensory domain seems to be lateralized also in cat species, stressing the role of the left hemisphere for intraspecific communication and of the right hemisphere in processing threatening and alarming stimuli.

  11. Transvalued species in an African forest.

    PubMed

    Remis, Melissa J; Hardin, Rebecca

    2009-12-01

    We combined ethnographic investigations with repeated ecological transect surveys in the Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic, to elucidate consequences of intensifying mixed use of forests. We devised a framework for transvaluation of wildlife species, which means the valuing of species on the basis of their ecological, economic, and symbolic roles in human lives. We measured responses to hunting, tourism, and conservation of two transvalued species in RDS: elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) and gorillas (Gorilla gorilla). Our methods included collecting data on encounter rates and habitat use on line transects. We recorded cross-cultural variation in ideas about and interactions with these species during participant observation of hunting and tourism encounters and ethnographic interviews with hunters, conservation staff, researchers, and tourists. Ecologically, gorillas used human-modified landscapes successfully, and elephants were more vulnerable than gorillas to hunting. Economically, tourism and encounters with elephants and gorillas generated revenues and other benefits for local participants. Symbolically, transvaluation of species seemed to undergird competing institutions of forest management that could prove unsustainable. Nevertheless, transvaluation may also offer alternatives to existing social hierarchies, thereby integrating local and transnational support for conservation measures. The study of transvaluation requires attention to transnational flows of ideas and resources because they influence transspecies interactions. Cross-disciplinary in nature, transvalution of species addresses the political and economic challenges to conservation because it recognizes the varied human communities that shape the survival of wildlife in a given site. Transvaluation of species could foster more socially inclusive management and monitoring approaches attuned to competing economic demands, specific species behaviors, and human

  12. Change in Mesoherbivore Browsing Is Mediated by Elephant and Hillslope Position.

    PubMed

    Lagendijk, D D Georgette; Thaker, Maria; de Boer, Willem F; Page, Bruce R; Prins, Herbert H T; Slotow, Rob

    2015-01-01

    Elephant are considered major drivers of ecosystems, but their effects within small-scale landscape features and on other herbivores still remain unclear. Elephant impact on vegetation has been widely studied in areas where elephant have been present for many years. We therefore examined the combined effect of short-term elephant presence (< 4 years) and hillslope position on tree species assemblages, resource availability, browsing intensity and soil properties. Short-term elephant presence did not affect woody species assemblages, but did affect height distribution, with greater sapling densities in elephant access areas. Overall tree and stem densities were also not affected by elephant. By contrast, slope position affected woody species assemblages, but not height distributions and densities. Variation in species assemblages was statistically best explained by levels of total cations, Zinc, sand and clay. Although elephant and mesoherbivore browsing intensities were unaffected by slope position, we found lower mesoherbivore browsing intensity on crests with high elephant browsing intensity. Thus, elephant appear to indirectly facilitate the survival of saplings, via the displacement of mesoherbivores, providing a window of opportunity for saplings to grow into taller trees. In the short-term, effects of elephant can be minor and in the opposite direction of expectation. In addition, such behavioural displacement promotes recruitment of saplings into larger height classes. The interaction between slope position and elephant effect found here is in contrast with other studies, and illustrates the importance of examining ecosystem complexity as a function of variation in species presence and topography. The absence of a direct effect of elephant on vegetation, but the presence of an effect on mesoherbivore browsing, is relevant for conservation areas especially where both herbivore groups are actively managed.

  13. Change in Mesoherbivore Browsing Is Mediated by Elephant and Hillslope Position

    PubMed Central

    Lagendijk, D. D. Georgette; Thaker, Maria; de Boer, Willem F.; Page, Bruce R.; Prins, Herbert H. T.; Slotow, Rob

    2015-01-01

    Elephant are considered major drivers of ecosystems, but their effects within small-scale landscape features and on other herbivores still remain unclear. Elephant impact on vegetation has been widely studied in areas where elephant have been present for many years. We therefore examined the combined effect of short-term elephant presence (< 4 years) and hillslope position on tree species assemblages, resource availability, browsing intensity and soil properties. Short-term elephant presence did not affect woody species assemblages, but did affect height distribution, with greater sapling densities in elephant access areas. Overall tree and stem densities were also not affected by elephant. By contrast, slope position affected woody species assemblages, but not height distributions and densities. Variation in species assemblages was statistically best explained by levels of total cations, Zinc, sand and clay. Although elephant and mesoherbivore browsing intensities were unaffected by slope position, we found lower mesoherbivore browsing intensity on crests with high elephant browsing intensity. Thus, elephant appear to indirectly facilitate the survival of saplings, via the displacement of mesoherbivores, providing a window of opportunity for saplings to grow into taller trees. In the short-term, effects of elephant can be minor and in the opposite direction of expectation. In addition, such behavioural displacement promotes recruitment of saplings into larger height classes. The interaction between slope position and elephant effect found here is in contrast with other studies, and illustrates the importance of examining ecosystem complexity as a function of variation in species presence and topography. The absence of a direct effect of elephant on vegetation, but the presence of an effect on mesoherbivore browsing, is relevant for conservation areas especially where both herbivore groups are actively managed. PMID:26083248

  14. Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. in northern elephant seals, California.

    PubMed

    Stoddard, Robyn A; Gulland, M D Frances; Atwill, E Rob; Lawrence, Judy; Jang, Spencer; Conrad, Patricia A

    2005-12-01

    Campylobacter and Salmonella spp. prevalence and antimicrobial drug sensitivity were determined in northern elephant seals that had not entered the water and seals that were stranded on the California coast. Stranded seals had a higher prevalence of pathogenic bacteria, possibly from terrestrial sources, which were more likely to be resistant.

  15. The "elephant man" of Cambridge. a case report of neurofibromatosis.

    PubMed

    Rai, G S; Coni, N K

    1981-03-01

    The case is presented of a 65-year-old man with neurofibromatosis manifesting facial and skeletal features resembling those of the "elephant man" described by Sir Frederick Treves. Autopsy revealed not only a pheochromocytoma (a common accompaniment of neurofibromatosis), but an enlarged infarcted spleen and a subphrenic abscess. These findings have not been described previously in a patient with neurofibromatosis.

  16. Thyroid function testing in elephant seals in health and disease.

    PubMed

    Yochem, Pamela K; Gulland, Frances M D; Stewart, Brent S; Haulena, Martin; Mazet, Jonna A K; Boyce, Walter M

    2008-02-01

    Northern Elephant Seal Skin Disease (NESSD) is a severe, ulcerative, skin condition of unknown cause affecting primarily yearling northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris); it has been associated with decreased levels of circulating thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Abnormalities of the thyroid gland that result in decreased hormone levels (hypothyroidism) can result in hair loss, scaling and secondary skin infections. However, concurrent illness (including skin ailments) can suppress basal levels of thyroid hormones and mimic hypothyroidism; when this occurs in animals with normal thyroid glands it is called "sick euthyroid syndrome". The two conditions (true hypothyroidism vs. "sick euthyroid") can be distinguished in dogs by testing the response of the thyroid gland to exogenous thyrotropin (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, TSH). To determine whether hypothyroidism is involved in the etiology of NESSD, we tested thyroid function of stranded yearling elephant seals in the following categories: healthy seals (rehabilitated and ready for release; N=9), seals suffering from NESSD (N=16) and seals with other illnesses (e.g., lungworm pneumonia; N=10). Levels of T4 increased significantly for all three categories of elephant seals following TSH stimulation, suggesting that seals with NESSD are "sick euthyroid" and that the disease is not associated with abnormal thyroid gland function.

  17. Elmer and His Elephant Friends. Literature in the Art Room.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sigan, Jackie

    2000-01-01

    Describes a first-grade lesson that combines art and literature in which students learn how to mix colors. Explains that they listen to the story "Elmer" by David McKee and then create their own patchwork elephants just like Elmer. Discusses how the students made the jungle scene. (CMK)

  18. A Computational Study of the Effect of False Vocal Folds on Glottal Flow and Vocal Fold Vibration During Phonation

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Xudong; Bielamowicz, Steve; Luo, Haoxiang; Mittal, Rajat

    2010-01-01

    The false vocal folds are believed to be components of the acoustic filter that is responsible for shaping the voice. However, the effects of false vocal folds on the vocal fold vibration and the glottal aerodynamic during phonation remain unclear. This effect has implications for computational modeling of phonation as well as for understanding laryngeal pathologies such as glottal incompetence resulting from unilateral vocal fold paralysis. In this study, a high fidelity, two-dimensional computational model, which combines an immersed boundary method for the airflow and a continuum, finite-element method for the vocal folds, is used to examine the effect of the false vocal folds on flow-induced vibration (FIV) of the true vocal folds and the dynamics of the glottal jet. The model is notionally based on a laryngeal CT scan and employs realistic flow conditions and tissue properties. Results show that the false vocal folds potentially have a significant impact on phonation. The false vocal folds reduce the glottal flow impedance and increase the amplitude as well as the mean glottal jet velocity. The false vocal folds also enhance the intensity of the monopole acoustic sources in the glottis. A mechanism for reduction in flow impedance due to the false vocal folds is proposed. PMID:19142730

  19. Erratum to: Elephants also like coffee: Trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    Bal, P; Nath, C D; Nanaya, K M; Kushalappa, C G; Garcia, C

    2011-08-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  20. Erratum: Erratum to: Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-08-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  1. Elephants Also Like Coffee: Trends and Drivers of Human-Elephant Conflicts in Coffee Agroforestry Landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bal, P.; Nath, C. D.; Nanaya, K. M.; Kushalappa, C. G.; Garcia, C.

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  2. Elephants also like coffee: trends and drivers of human-elephant conflicts in coffee agroforestry landscapes of Kodagu, Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    Bal, P; Nath, C D; Nanaya, K M; Kushalappa, C G; Garcia, C

    2011-05-01

    Kodagu district produces 2% of the world's coffee, in complex, multistoried agroforestry systems. The forests of the district harbour a large population of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). The combined effects of high elephant density and major landscape changes due to the expansion of coffee cultivation are the cause of human-elephant conflicts (HEC). Mitigation strategies, including electric fences and compensation schemes implemented by the Forest Department have met with limited success. Building on previous studies in the area, we assessed current spatial and temporal trends of conflict, analysed local stakeholders' perceptions and identified factors driving elephants into the estates. Our study, initiated in May 2007, shows that the intensity of HEC has increased over the last 10 years, exhibiting new seasonal patterns. Conflict maps and the lack of correlation between physical features of the coffee plantations and elephant visits suggest elephants move along corridors between the eastern and western forests of the district, opportunistically foraging when crossing the plantations. Dung analyses indicate elephants have selectively included ripe coffee berries in their diet. This is, to our knowledge, the first report of wild elephants feeding on coffee berries. If this new behaviour spreads through the population, it will compound an already severe conflict situation. The behavioural plasticity, the multiplicity of stakeholders involved, the difficulty in defining the problem and the limits of technical solutions already proposed suggest that HEC in Kodagu has the ingredients of a "wicked" problem whose resolution will require more shared understanding and problem solving work amongst the stakeholders.

  3. VOCAL COMPLAINT, AUDITORY-PERCEPTUAL ASSESSMENT OF VOICE AND VOCAL SELF-ASSESSMENT IN WOMEN WITH MORBID OBESITY

    PubMed Central

    de SOUZA, Lourdes Bernadete Rocha; PERNAMBUCO, Leandro de Araujo; dos SANTOS, Marquiony Marques; da SILVA, Joana Cristina Vasconcelos

    2015-01-01

    Background : Obese people often have altered breathing patterns and therefore may experience difficulties in voice production. Aim : To verify the presence of vocal complaints and the correlation between the auditory-perceptual analysis of voice and vocal self-assessment of a group of women with morbid obesity before and after bariatric surgery. Methods : A longitudinal, exploratory, descriptive study of 21 morbidly obese women aged between 28 and 68 years, assessed before and after bariatric surgery, was performed. The women filled out a form containing identification data and type of vocal complaint. Perceptual evaluation of voice and vocal self-assessment were performed using a visual analog scale. For perceptual assessment of voice the women were asked to say three sentences from the Consensus Auditory-Perceptual Evaluation of Voice. Results : Of the 21 patients, 14 (66.6%) reported vocal complaints, of which 10 (71%) vocal fatigue, eight (57.14%) voice failures and seven (50%) vocal effort. All participants reported improvements in the voice after surgery, irrespective of having reported vocal complaints before surgery. There was no correlation between vocal self-assessment and auditory-perceptual assessment of the voice before or after the procedure. There was no correlation between vocal self-assessment and perceptual evaluation of the voice before surgery. Conclusion : Obesity interfered with voice production and influenced negative perception and therefore vocal complaints. Complaints about vocal production cannot be perceived by a speech therapist with the same impact as by patients, as both employ different criteria for vocal evaluation. Vocal self-assessment is an important tool in voice evaluation. PMID:26537268

  4. The dynamics of social networks among female Asian elephants

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Patterns in the association of individuals can shed light on the underlying conditions and processes that shape societies. Here we characterize patterns of association in a population of wild Asian Elephants at Uda Walawe National Park in Sri Lanka. We observed 286 individually-identified adult female elephants over 20 months and examined their social dynamics at three levels of organization: pairs of individuals (dyads), small sets of direct companions (ego-networks), and the population level (complete networks). Results Corroborating previous studies of this and other Asian elephant populations, we find that the sizes of elephant groups observed in the field on any particular day are typically small and that rates of association are low. In contrast to earlier studies, our longitudinal observations reveal that individuals form larger social units that can be remarkably stable across years while associations among such units change across seasons. Association rates tend to peak in dry seasons as opposed to wet seasons, with some cyclicity at the level of dyads. In addition, we find that individuals vary substantially in their fidelity to companions. At the ego-network level, we find that despite these fluctuations, individuals associate with a pool of long-term companions. At the population level, social networks do not exhibit any clear seasonal structure or hierarchical stratification. Conclusions This detailed longitudinal study reveals different social dynamics at different levels of organization. Taken together, these results demonstrate that low association rates, seemingly small group sizes, and fission-fusion grouping behavior mask hidden stability in the extensive and fluid social affiliations in this population of Asian elephants. PMID:21794147

  5. Mouse vocal communication system: are ultrasounds learned or innate?

    PubMed Central

    Arriaga, Gustavo; Jarvis, Erich D.

    2013-01-01

    Mouse ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are often used as behavioral readouts of internal states, to measure effects of social and pharmacological manipulations, and for behavioral phenotyping of mouse models for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. However, little is known about the neurobiological mechanisms of rodent USV production. Here we discuss the available data to assess whether male mouse song behavior and the supporting brain circuits resemble those of known vocal non-learning or vocal learning species. Recent neurobiology studies have demonstrated that the mouse USV brain system includes motor cortex and striatal regions, and that the vocal motor cortex sends a direct sparse projection to the brainstem vocal motor nucleus ambiguous, a projection thought be unique to humans among mammals. Recent behavioral studies have reported opposing conclusions on mouse vocal plasticity, including vocal ontogeny changes in USVs over early development that might not be explained by innate maturation processes, evidence for and against a role for auditory feedback in developing and maintaining normal mouse USVs, and evidence for and against limited vocal imitation of song pitch. To reconcile these findings, we suggest that the trait of vocal learning may not be dichotomous but encompass a broad set of behavioral and neural traits we call the continuum hypothesis, and that mice possess some of the traits associated with a capacity for limited vocal learning. PMID:23295209

  6. Vocal activity of lesser galagos (Galago spp.) at zoos.

    PubMed

    Schneiderová, Irena; Zouhar, Jan; Štefanská, Lucie; Bolfíková, Barbora Černá; Lhota, Stanislav; Brandl, Pavel

    2016-01-01

    Almost nothing is known about the natural vocal behavior of lesser galagos living in zoos. This is perhaps because they are usually kept in nocturnal exhibits separated from the visitors by a transparent and acoustically insulating glass barrier. The aim of the present study was therefore to fill this gap in knowledge of the vocal behavior of lesser galagos from zoos. This knowledge might be beneficial because the vocalizations of these small primates can be used for species determination. We performed a 10-day-long acoustic monitoring of vocal activity in each of seven various groups of Galago senegalensis and G. moholi living at four zoos. We quantitatively evaluated the occurrence of four loud vocalization types present in both species, including the most species-specific advertisement call. We found that qualitative as well as quantitative differences exist in the vocal behavior of the studied groups. We confirmed that the observed vocalization types can be collected from lesser galagos living at zoos, and the success can be increased by selecting larger and more diverse groups. We found two distinct patterns of diel vocal activity in the most vocally active groups. G. senegalensis groups were most vocally active at the beginning and at the end of their activity period, whereas one G. moholi group showed an opposite pattern. The latter is surprising, as it is generally accepted that lesser galagos emit advertisement calls especially at dawn and dusk, i.e., at the beginning and at the end of their diel activity.

  7. Elasticity and stress relaxation of a very small vocal fold

    PubMed Central

    Riede, Tobias; York, Alexander; Furst, Stephen; Müller, Rolf; Seelecke, Stefan

    2011-01-01

    Across mammals many vocal sounds are produced by airflow induced vocal fold oscillation. We tested the hypothesis that stress-strain and stress-relaxation behavior of rat vocal folds can be used to predict the fundamental frequency range of the species’ vocal repertoire. In a first approximation vocal fold oscillation has been modeled by the string model but it is not known whether this concept equally applies to large and small species. The shorter the vocal fold, the more the ideal string law may underestimate normal mode frequencies. To accommodate the very small size of the tissue specimen, a custom-built miniaturized tensile test apparatus was developed. Tissue properties of 6 male rat vocal folds were measured. Rat vocal folds demonstrated the typical linear stress-strain behavior in the low strain region and an exponential stress response at strains larger than about 40%. Approximating the rat’s vocal fold oscillation with the string model suggests that fundamental frequencies up to about 6 kHz can be produced, which agrees with frequencies reported for audible rat vocalization. Individual differences and time-dependent changes in the tissue properties parallel findings in other species, and are interpreted as universal features of the laryngeal sound source. PMID:21550608

  8. Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols

    PubMed Central

    Perlman, Marcus; Dale, Rick; Lupyan, Gary

    2015-01-01

    Studies of gestural communication systems find that they originate from spontaneously created iconic gestures. Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia. It is unknown whether people can generate vocal communication systems through a process of iconic creation similar to gestural systems. Here, we examine the creation and development of a rudimentary vocal symbol system in a laboratory setting. Pairs of participants generated novel vocalizations for 18 different meanings in an iterative ‘vocal’ charades communication game. The communicators quickly converged on stable vocalizations, and naive listeners could correctly infer their meanings in subsequent playback experiments. People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic ‘meaning template’ we derived from the production data. These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity. Our findings illuminate a mechanism by which iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols, analogous to the function of iconicity in gestural communication systems. PMID:26361547

  9. Comparison of cortisol and thyroid hormones between tuberculosis-suspect and healthy elephants of Nepal

    PubMed Central

    PAUDEL, Sarad; BROWN, Janine L.; THAPALIYA, Sharada; DHAKAL, Ishwari P.; MIKOTA, Susan K.; GAIRHE, Kamal P.; SHIMOZURU, Michito; TSUBOTA, Toshio

    2016-01-01

    We compared cortisol and thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) concentrations between tuberculosis (TB)-suspected (n=10) and healthy (n=10) elephants of Nepal. Whole blood was collected from captive elephants throughout Nepal, and TB testing was performed using the ElephantTB STAT-PAK® and DPP VetTB® serological assays that detect antibodies against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. bovis in elephant serum. Cortisol, T3 and T4 were quantified by competitive enzyme immunoassays, and the results showed no significant differences in hormone concentrations between TB-suspect and healthy elephants. These preliminary data suggest neither adrenal nor thyroid function is altered by TB disease status. However, more elephants, including those positively diagnosed for TB by trunk wash cultures, need to be evaluated over time to confirm results. PMID:27452878

  10. Recording Mouse Ultrasonic Vocalizations to Evaluate Social Communication

    PubMed Central

    Ferhat, Allain-Thibeault; Torquet, Nicolas; Le Sourd, Anne-Marie; de Chaumont, Fabrice; Olivo-Marin, Jean-Christophe; Faure, Philippe; Bourgeron, Thomas; Ey, Elodie

    2016-01-01

    Mice emit ultrasonic vocalizations in different contexts throughout development and in adulthood. These vocal signals are now currently used as proxies for modeling the genetic bases of vocal communication deficits. Characterizing the vocal behavior of mouse models carrying mutations in genes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders will help to understand the mechanisms leading to social communication deficits. We provide here protocols to reliably elicit ultrasonic vocalizations in pups and in adult mice. This standardization will help reduce inter-study variability due to the experimental settings. Pup isolation calls are recorded throughout development from individual pups isolated from dam and littermates. In adulthood, vocalizations are recorded during same-sex interactions (without a sexual component) by exposing socially motivated males or females to an unknown same-sex conspecific. We also provide a protocol to record vocalizations from adult males exposed to an estrus female. In this context, there is a sexual component in the interaction. These protocols are established to elicit a large amount of ultrasonic vocalizations in laboratory mice. However, we point out the important inter-individual variability in the vocal behavior of mice, which should be taken into account by recording a minimal number of individuals (at least 12 in each condition). These recordings of ultrasonic vocalizations are used to evaluate the call rate, the vocal repertoire and the acoustic structure of the calls. Data are combined with the analysis of synchronous video recordings to provide a more complete view on social communication in mice. These protocols are used to characterize the vocal communication deficits in mice lacking ProSAP1/Shank2, a gene associated with autism spectrum disorders. More ultrasonic vocalizations recordings can also be found on the mouseTube database, developed to favor the exchange of such data. PMID:27341321

  11. Recording Mouse Ultrasonic Vocalizations to Evaluate Social Communication.

    PubMed

    Ferhat, Allain-Thibeault; Torquet, Nicolas; Le Sourd, Anne-Marie; de Chaumont, Fabrice; Olivo-Marin, Jean-Christophe; Faure, Philippe; Bourgeron, Thomas; Ey, Elodie

    2016-06-05

    Mice emit ultrasonic vocalizations in different contexts throughout development and in adulthood. These vocal signals are now currently used as proxies for modeling the genetic bases of vocal communication deficits. Characterizing the vocal behavior of mouse models carrying mutations in genes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders will help to understand the mechanisms leading to social communication deficits. We provide here protocols to reliably elicit ultrasonic vocalizations in pups and in adult mice. This standardization will help reduce inter-study variability due to the experimental settings. Pup isolation calls are recorded throughout development from individual pups isolated from dam and littermates. In adulthood, vocalizations are recorded during same-sex interactions (without a sexual component) by exposing socially motivated males or females to an unknown same-sex conspecific. We also provide a protocol to record vocalizations from adult males exposed to an estrus female. In this context, there is a sexual component in the interaction. These protocols are established to elicit a large amount of ultrasonic vocalizations in laboratory mice. However, we point out the important inter-individual variability in the vocal behavior of mice, which should be taken into account by recording a minimal number of individuals (at least 12 in each condition). These recordings of ultrasonic vocalizations are used to evaluate the call rate, the vocal repertoire and the acoustic structure of the calls. Data are combined with the analysis of synchronous video recordings to provide a more complete view on social communication in mice. These protocols are used to characterize the vocal communication deficits in mice lacking ProSAP1/Shank2, a gene associated with autism spectrum disorders. More ultrasonic vocalizations recordings can also be found on the mouseTube database, developed to favor the exchange of such data.

  12. Environmental Perturbations, Behavioral Change, and Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-09-30

    Population Response in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study Daniel P. Costa University of California, Santa Cruz 100 Shaffer Rd. Santa Cruz, CA...grant has allowed us to extend and improve a four-decade study of northern elephant seal populations in California, aiming specifically to quantify...in a Long-Term Northern Elephant Seal Study 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER 5e

  13. Vocal classification of vocalizations of a pair of Asian small-clawed otters to determine stress.

    PubMed

    Scheifele, Peter M; Johnson, Michael T; Fry, Michelle; Hamel, Benjamin; Laclede, Kathryn

    2015-07-01

    Asian Small-Clawed Otters (Aonyx cinerea) are a small, protected but threatened species living in freshwater. They are gregarious and live in monogamous pairs for their lifetimes, communicating via scent and acoustic vocalizations. This study utilized a hidden Markov model (HMM) to classify stress versus non-stress calls from a sibling pair under professional care. Vocalizations were expertly annotated by keepers into seven contextual categories. Four of these-aggression, separation anxiety, pain, and prefeeding-were identified as stressful contexts, and three of them-feeding, training, and play-were identified as non-stressful contexts. The vocalizations were segmented, manually categorized into broad vocal type call types, and analyzed to determine signal to noise ratios. From this information, vocalizations from the most common contextual categories were used to implement HMM-based automatic classification experiments, which included individual identification, stress vs non-stress, and individual context classification. Results indicate that both individual identity and stress vs non-stress were distinguishable, with accuracies above 90%, but that individual contexts within the stress category were not easily separable.

  14. Vocal training, levodopa, and environment effects on ultrasonic vocalizations in a rat neurotoxin model of Parkinson disease.

    PubMed

    Kelm-Nelson, Cynthia A; Brauer, Alexander F L; Ciucci, Michelle R

    2016-07-01

    Levodopa does not improve dysarthria in patients with Parkinson Disease (PD), although vocal exercise therapy, such as "LSVT/LOUD(®)", does improve vocal communication. Most patients receive vocal exercise therapy while concurrently being treated with levodopa, although the interaction between levodopa and vocal exercise therapy on communication in PD is relatively unknown. Further, carryover of vocal exercise therapy to novel situations is critical for successful outcomes, but the influence of novel situations on rehabilitated vocal communication is not well understood. To address the influence of exercise, medications, and environment on vocal communication with precise experimental control, we employed the widely used 6-OHDA rat neurotoxin model of PD (infusion to the medial forebrain bundle), and assessed ultrasonic vocalizations after: vocal exercise, vocal exercise with levodopa, levodopa alone, and control conditions. We tested USVs in the familiar training environment of the home cage and a novel cage. We hypothesized that parkinsonian rats that undergo vocal exercise would demonstrate significant improvement of ultrasonic vocalization (USV) acoustic parameters as compared to the control exercise and levodopa-only treatment groups. We further hypothesized that vocal exercise in combination with levodopa administration, similar to what is common in humans, would lead to improvement in USV outcomes, particularly when tested in a familiar versus a novel environment. We found that the combination of exercise and levodopa lead to some improvement in USV acoustic parameters and these effects were stronger in a familiar vs. a novel environment. Our results suggest that although treatment can improve aspects of communication, environment can influence the benefits of these effects.

  15. Practical management: vocal cord dysfunction in athletes.

    PubMed

    Wilson, John J; Wilson, Erin M

    2006-07-01

    Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is characterized by paradoxical adduction of the vocal folds during inhalation, and occasionally upon exhalation, resulting in extrathoracic airflow obstruction. Sports medicine professionals must have a high index of suspicion for VCD when acute respiratory symptoms occur so that prompt evaluation and use of appropriate specialists results in an accurate and timely diagnosis. Many factors have been implicated in the pathophysiology of VCD, including laryngeal irritants, psychogenic and neurogenic causes. The diagnosis and management of VCD involves a variety of specialties including pulmonology, otolaryngology, speech-language pathology, allergy and immunology, and psychologic management as appropriate. The mainstay of treatment remains behavioral management guided by a medical speech-language pathologist, as well as pharmacologic management for VCD triggers.

  16. Amygdalar vocalization pathways in the squirrel monkey.

    PubMed

    Jürgens, U

    1982-06-10

    In 22 squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) vocalization-eliciting electrodes were implanted into the amygdala and along the trajectory of the stria terminalis. Then, lesions were placed in the stria terminalis, its bed nucleus, the ventral amygdalofugal pathway and several di- and mesencephalic structures in order to find out the pathways along which the amygdala exerts its vocalization-controlling influence. It was found that different call types are controlled by different pathways. Purring and chattering calls, which express a self-confident, challenging attitude and an attempt to recruit fellow-combatants in intra-specific mobbing, respectively, are controlled via the stria terminalis; alarm peep and groaning calls, in contrast, which indicate flight motivation and resentment, respectively, are triggered via the ventral amygdalofugal fibre bundle. Both pathways traverse the dorsolateral and dorsomedial hypothalamus, respectively, and unite in the periaqueductal grey of the midbrain.

  17. Elephant (Elephas maximus) Health and Management in Asia: Variations in Veterinary Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Miller, David; Jackson, Bradford; Riddle, Heidi S.; Stremme, Christopher; Miller, Thaddeus

    2015-01-01

    There is a need to identify strategic investments in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) health that will yield maximal benefits for overall elephant health and conservation. As an exploratory first step, a survey was administered to veterinarians from Asian elephant range countries at a workshop and via email to help prioritize health-related concerns that will mostly benefit elephants. Responses were received from 45 veterinarians from eight countries that had a range of experience with captive and wild elephants. The occurrence of medical conditions and responses to treatment varied among responses. However, injuries, parasitism, and gastrointestinal disease were reported as the most common syndromes responsible for elephant morbidity, whereas injury and infectious disease not due to parasitism were the most commonly reported sources of elephant mortality. Substandard nutrition, water quality and quantity deficiencies, and inadequate or absent shelter were among the factors listed as barriers to optimal elephant health. While this survey's results do not support definitive conclusions, they can be used to identify where and how subsequent investigations should be directed. Rigorous assessment of the relative costs and benefits of available options is required to ensure that investments in individual and population health yield the maximal benefits for elephants. PMID:25688328

  18. Methodological considerations of acoustic playbacks to test the behavioral significance of call directionality in male northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, Marla M.; Insley, Stephen J.; Southall, Brandon L.; Schusterman, Ronald J.

    2005-09-01

    While attempting to gain access to receptive females, male northern elephant seals form dominance hierarchies through multiple dyadic interactions involving visual and acoustic signals. These signals are both highly stereotyped and directional. Previous behavioral observations suggested that males attend to the directional cues of these signals. We used in situ vocal playbacks to test whether males attend to directional cues of the acoustic components of a competitors calls (i.e., variation in call spectra and source levels). Here, we will focus on playback methodology. Playback calls were multiple exemplars of a marked dominant male from an isolated area, recorded with a directional microphone and DAT recorder and edited into a natural sequence that controlled call amplitude. Control calls were recordings of ambient rookery sounds with the male calls removed. Subjects were 20 marked males (10 adults and 10 subadults) all located at An~o Nuevo, CA. Playback presentations, calibrated for sound-pressure level, were broadcast at a distance of 7 m from each subject. Most responses were classified into the following categories: visual orientation, postural change, calling, movement toward or away from the loudspeaker, and re-directed aggression. We also investigated developmental, hierarchical, and ambient noise variables that were thought to influence male behavior.

  19. Vocal Parameters of Elderly Female Choir Singers

    PubMed Central

    Aquino, Fernanda Salvatico de; Ferreira, Léslie Piccolotto

    2015-01-01

    Introduction Due to increased life expectancy among the population, studying the vocal parameters of the elderly is key to promoting vocal health in old age. Objective This study aims to analyze the profile of the extension of speech of elderly female choristers, according to age group. Method The study counted on the participation of 25 elderly female choristers from the Choir of Messianic Church of São Paulo, with ages varying between 63 and 82 years, and an average of 71 years (standard deviation of 5.22). The elders were divided into two groups: G1 aged 63 to 71 years and G2 aged 72 to 82. We asked that each participant count from 20 to 30 in weak, medium, strong, and very strong intensities. Their speech was registered by the software Vocalgrama that allows the evaluation of the profile of speech range. We then submitted the parameters of frequency and intensity to descriptive analysis, both in minimum and maximum levels, and range of spoken voice. Results The average of minimum and maximum frequencies were respectively 134.82–349.96 Hz for G1 and 137.28–348.59 Hz for G2; the average for minimum and maximum intensities were respectively 40.28–95.50 dB for G1 and 40.63–94.35 dB for G2; the vocal range used in speech was 215.14 Hz for G1 and 211.30 Hz for G2. Conclusion The minimum and maximum frequencies, maximum intensity, and vocal range presented differences in favor of the younger elder group. PMID:26722341

  20. Diffraction method of vocal chord oscillation sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuzmin, Sergey Y.; Tuchin, Valery V.

    1996-04-01

    A method of small-amplitude biovibrations detection is presented in the paper. The method uses a dependence of properties of speckle-structures formed by focused coherent light field diffraction from rough surfaces on the statistics and movement parameters of the surface. With the help of computer modeling the different components of skin surface vibration were analyzed and their influence on speckles dynamics was studied. Human vocal chord oscillations spectrum was monitored using the developed technique.

  1. Acoustical and functional analysis of Mountain lion (Puma concolor) vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potter, Jacquelyn

    2002-05-01

    A 2-year study resulted in acoustic analysis of the structure of over 900 mountain lion vocalizations recorded in a seminatural setting at Wildlife Prairie Park near Peoria, Illinois. A vocal repertoire was obtained by describing quantitative variables about the sounds, i.e., frequency of the dominant part of the sound (beginning, ending, maximum, and minimum), duration, and number of components. Other variables described the tonal, harmonic, and wideband qualities of the sounds. Behavioral data were collected during the same period. Further analysis of both acoustic and behavioral data was completed to develop a correlation matrix between vocalizations and behavior. This study also looked at the effects of seasons on vocal behavior. Correlations were found between vocalization types and rates of usage with specific behaviors. Vocalization type and the usage rate also varied by season.

  2. Human mutant huntingtin disrupts vocal learning in transgenic songbirds.

    PubMed

    Liu, Wan-Chun; Kohn, Jessica; Szwed, Sarah K; Pariser, Eben; Sepe, Sharon; Haripal, Bhagwattie; Oshimori, Naoki; Marsala, Martin; Miyanohara, Atsushi; Lee, Ramee

    2015-11-01

    Speech and vocal impairments characterize many neurological disorders. However, the neurogenetic mechanisms of these disorders are not well understood, and current animal models do not have the necessary circuitry to recapitulate vocal learning deficits. We developed germline transgenic songbirds, zebra finches (Taneiopygia guttata) expressing human mutant huntingtin (mHTT), a protein responsible for the progressive deterioration of motor and cognitive function in Huntington's disease (HD). Although generally healthy, the mutant songbirds had severe vocal disorders, including poor vocal imitation, stuttering, and progressive syntax and syllable degradation. Their song abnormalities were associated with HD-related neuropathology and dysfunction of the cortical-basal ganglia (CBG) song circuit. These transgenics are, to the best of our knowledge, the first experimentally created, functional mutant songbirds. Their progressive and quantifiable vocal disorder, combined with circuit dysfunction in the CBG song system, offers a model for genetic manipulation and the development of therapeutic strategies for CBG-related vocal and motor disorders.

  3. Vocalization-correlated respiratory movements in the squirrel monkey.

    PubMed

    Häusler, U

    2000-10-01

    Respiratory abdominal movements associated with vocalization were recorded in awake squirrel monkeys. Several call types, such as peeping, trilling, cackling, and err-chucks, were accompanied by large vocalization-correlated respiratory movements (VCRM) that started before vocalization. During purring, in contrast, only small VCRM were recorded that started later after vocal onset. VCRM during trill calls, a vocalization type with repetitive frequency modulation, showed a modulation in the rhythm of the frequency changes. A correlation with amplitude modulation was also present, but more variable. As high frequencies need a higher lung pressure for production than low frequencies, the modulation of VCRM seems to serve to optimize the lung pressure in relation to the vocalization frequency. The modulation, furthermore, may act as a mechanism to produce different trill variants. During err-chucks and staccato peeps, which show a large amplitude modulation, a nonmodulated VCRM occurred. This indicates the existence of a laryngeal amplitude-controlling mechanism that is independent from respiration.

  4. Three Blind Men and the Elephant

    SciTech Connect

    Long, J S

    2007-02-13

    Just like the blind men in the popular story of perceiving the elephant, the three major constituencies participating in the energy debate have greatly different perceptions of the problem. The constituency that is worried about climate change believes the energy problem is caused by profligate use of fossil fuel that has dramatically changed our atmosphere. The energy security group sees dangerous reliance on foreign sources of oil increasingly held by countries hostile to the US. The economic vitality group sees high energy prices and their effect on the economy and our life-style. Just like the blind men, each of the three constituencies perceives a different problem. And just as with the blind men, while each perspective is right as a piece of the elephant, it takes all the perspectives together to actually solve the problem. Environmentalists focus on solutions responding to the scientific consensus that greenhouse gases are creating rapid climate change. The tipping point has come: it is now a consensus position among scientists the global warming is being affected by anthropogenic activity to 90% certainty according to the last IPCC report. Although they still struggle with the prediction of how much global temperatures will rise if we do nothing--is it 5 deg or 10 under BAU? This group believes that we cannot afford to take a chance because we get only one chance. We can not afford to do this kind of experiment with the Earth. Any choice which decreases our CO{sub 2} footprint is favored, even if it means a decrease in standard of living. The energy security constituency sees the geo-politics of oil becoming increasingly dire. They look at oil money being used to fund anti-American activities of groups such as the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the infamous Al Qaeda. They quip that the Iraq war is the first war where we are paying for both sides. They note Iran and the Shia throughout the Middle East seeing the possibility of controlling

  5. Evidence of sound symbolism in simple vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Parise, Cesare V; Pavani, Francesco

    2011-10-01

    The question of the arbitrariness of language is among the oldest in cognitive sciences, and it relates to the nature of the associations between vocal sounds and their meaning. Growing evidence seems to support sound symbolism, claiming for a naturally constrained mapping of meaning into sounds. Most of such evidence, however, comes from studies based on the interpretation of pseudowords, and to date, there is little empirical evidence that sound symbolism can affect phonatory behavior. In the present study, we asked participants to utter the letter /a/ in response to visual stimuli varying in shape, luminance, and size, and we observed consistent sound symbolic effects on vocalizations. Utterances' loudness was modulated by stimulus shape and luminance. Moreover, stimulus shape consistently modulated the frequency of the third formant (F3). This finding reveals an automatic mapping of specific visual attributes into phonological features of vocalizations. Furthermore, it suggests that sound-meaning associations are reciprocal, affecting active (production) as well as passive (comprehension) linguistic behavior.

  6. Vocally mediated social recognition in anurans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bee, Mark A.

    2005-09-01

    Anuran amphibians (frogs and toads) are among the most vocal of vertebrates and have long served as model systems for investigating the mechanisms and evolution of acoustic communication. Compared to higher vertebrates, however, the role of cognition in anuran communication has received less attention, at least in part due to the lack of evidence that juvenile anurans learn to produce signals or associate them with particular social contexts. Recent studies of social recognition in two anuran families indicate that territorial male frogs in some species are able to learn about and recognize the individually distinctive properties of the calls of nearby neighbors. For example, male bullfrogs (ranidae) learn about the pitch of a neighbor's vocalizations (an individually distinct voice property) and associate a familiar pitch with the location of the neighbor's territory. As in songbirds, this form of vocally mediated social recognition allows territory holders to direct low levels of aggression toward well-established neighbors, while maintaining a readiness to respond aggressively to more threatening strangers that may attempt a territory takeover. A brief review of currently available data will be used to illustrate how anurans can serve as model systems for investigating the role of cognition in acoustic communication.

  7. Ancient biodeterioration: an FT-Raman spectroscopic study of mammoth and elephant ivory.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Howell G M; Jorge Villar, Susana E; Nik Hassan, Nik F; Arya, Nlin; O'Connor, Sonia; Charlton, Donna M

    2005-10-01

    Raman spectra of mammoth ivory specimens have been recorded using near-infrared excitation, and comparisons made with modern Asian and African elephant ivories. Whereas the most ancient mammoth ivory (60-65 ky) showed no evidence for an organic collagen component, more recent samples of mammoth ivory indicated that some preservation had occurred, although with biodeterioration of the protein structure exhibited by the amide I and III bands in the 1200-1700 cm(-1) region of the Raman spectrum. The consequent difficulties encountered when applying chemometrics methods to ancient ivory analysis (which are successful for modern specimens) are noted. In the most ancient mammoth ivory specimens, which are extensively fragmented, evidence of mineralization is seen, with the production of gypsum, calcite and limonite; Raman microscopic analysis of crystalline material inside the fissures of the mammoth ivory shows the presence of gypsum as well as cyanobacterial colonisation. The application of Raman spectroscopy to the nondestructive analysis of archaeological materials in order to gain information of relevance to their preservation or restoration is highlighted.

  8. Paenungulata: a comparison of the hemoglobin sequences from elephant, hyrax, and manatee.

    PubMed

    Kleinschmidt, T; Czelusniak, J; Goodman, M; Braunitzer, G

    1986-09-01

    Inspection of the amino acid differences among hemoglobin sequences of a wide range of mammalian species suggested that at alpha 19, alpha 110, alpha 111, beta 23, beta 44, and beta 56, synapomorphies group manatee (Trichechus inungius, Sirenia), Indian and African elephant (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana, Proboscidea), and rock hyrax (Procavia habessinica, Hyracoidea) into a monophyletic clade. Results obtained by parsimony analysis provide evidence for this grouping--and thus support for the genealogical validity of Simpson's superorder Paenungulata, which contains as the extant orders Proboscidea, Sirenia, and Hyracoidea. All of the 39 most, or nearly most, parsimonious of 10,395 trees constructed from a tandemly combined alpha- and beta-hemoglobin sequence for 103 vertebrate species (of which 79 were mammals from 16 extant orders), depicted Paenungulata as one of the most anciently separated branches of Eutheria. It was found on examining thousands of alternative trees that to not group Proboscidea, Hyracoidea, and Sirenia in a monophyletic clade required at least four additional substitutions.

  9. Characterization of an endogenous retrovirus class in elephants and their relatives

    PubMed Central

    Greenwood, Alex D; Englbrecht, Claudia C; MacPhee, Ross DE

    2004-01-01

    Background Endogenous retrovirus-like elements (ERV-Ls, primed with tRNA leucine) are a diverse group of reiterated sequences related to foamy viruses and widely distributed among mammals. As shown in previous investigations, in many primates and rodents this class of elements has remained transpositionally active, as reflected by increased copy number and high sequence diversity within and among taxa. Results Here we examine whether proviral-like sequences may be suitable molecular probes for investigating the phylogeny of groups known to have high element diversity. As a test we characterized ERV-Ls occurring in a sample of extant members of superorder Uranotheria (Asian and African elephants, manatees, and hyraxes). The ERV-L complement in this group is even more diverse than previously suspected, and there is sequence evidence for active expansion, particularly in elephantids. Many of the elements characterized have protein coding potential suggestive of activity. Conclusions In general, the evidence supports the hypothesis that the complement had a single origin within basal Uranotheria. PMID:15476555

  10. Carbon dioxide laser enucleation of polypoid vocal cords.

    PubMed

    Yates, A; Dedo, H H

    1984-06-01

    Polypoid vocal cords have routinely been treated by endoscopic vocal cord stripping, often-times resulting in prolonged hoarseness postoperatively. Submucosal CO2 laser enucleation of the polypoid tissue, with preservation of a mucosal flap on the medial edge of the cord, has proved to be a valuable improvement. The surgical procedure is described and results are presented which suggest that voice quality is better earlier than is the case after vocal cord stripping.

  11. Effects of music on vocal stereotypy in children with autism.

    PubMed

    Lanovaz, Marc J; Sladeczek, Ingrid E; Rapp, John T

    2011-01-01

    We examined the effects of manipulating the intensity (i.e., volume) of music on engagement in vocal stereotypy in 2 children with autism. Noncontingent access to music decreased immediate engagement in vocal stereotypy for each participant, but it produced only marginal effects on subsequent engagement in the behavior (i.e., after withdrawal). Manipulating the intensity of music did not produce differential effects on immediate engagement in vocal stereotypy. The implications of the results and applications for future research are discussed.

  12. Heterospecific alarm call recognition in a non-vocal reptile.

    PubMed

    Vitousek, Maren N; Adelman, James S; Gregory, Nathan C; Clair, James J H St

    2007-12-22

    The ability to recognize and respond to the alarm calls of heterospecifics has previously been described only in species with vocal communication. Here we provide evidence that a non-vocal reptile, the Galápagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus), can eavesdrop on the alarm call of the Galápagos mockingbird (Nesomimus parvulus) and respond with anti-predator behaviour. Eavesdropping on complex heterospecific communications demonstrates a remarkable degree of auditory discrimination in a non-vocal species.

  13. Vocal learning in seals, sea lions, and walruses.

    PubMed

    Reichmuth, Colleen; Casey, Caroline

    2014-10-01

    The pinnipeds provide a variety of clues to those interested in the vocal learning capabilities of non-human animals. Observational and experimental studies of seals, sea lions, and walruses reveal elements of vocal development, contextual control, plasticity in expression and learning, and even imitation of complex sounds. Consideration of the factors that influence the expression of these capabilities informs understanding of the behavioral and structural mechanisms that support vocal learning in mammals and the evolutionary forces shaping these capabilities.

  14. Variable asymmetry and resonance in the avian vocal tract: a structural basis for individually distinct vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Suthers, R A

    1994-10-01

    The social vocalizations of the oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) frequently have their acoustic energy concentrated into 3 prominent formants which appear to arise from the filter properties of their asymmetrical vocal tract with its bronchial syrinx. The frequency of the second and third formants approximate the predicted fundamental resonances of the unequal left and right cranial portions of each primary bronchus, respectively. Reversibly plugging either bronchus eliminates the corresponding formant. The first formant may arise in the trachea. The degree of vocal tract asymmetry varies between individuals, endowing them with different formant frequencies and providing potential acoustic cues by which individuals of this nocturnal, cave dwelling species may recognize each other in their dark, crowded colonies.

  15. Vocal patterns in infants with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Canonical babbling status and vocalization frequency

    PubMed Central

    Patten, Elena; Belardi, Katie; Baranek, Grace T.; Watson, Linda R.; Labban, Jeffrey D.; Oller, D. Kimbrough

    2014-01-01

    Canonical babbling is a critical milestone for speech development and is usually well in place by 10 months. The possibility that infants with ASD show late onset of canonical babbling has so far eluded evaluation. Rate of vocalization or “volubility” has also been suggested as possibly aberrant in infants with ASD. We conducted a retrospective video study examining vocalizations of 37 infants at 9–12 and 15–18 months. Twenty-three of the 37 infants were later diagnosed with ASD and indeed produced low rates of canonical babbling and low volubility by comparison with the 14 typically developing infants. The study thus supports suggestions that very early vocal patterns may prove to be a useful component of early screening and diagnosis of ASD. PMID:24482292

  16. Vocal Generalization Depends on Gesture Identity and Sequence

    PubMed Central

    Sober, Samuel J.

    2014-01-01

    Generalization, the brain's ability to transfer motor learning from one context to another, occurs in a wide range of complex behaviors. However, the rules of generalization in vocal behavior are poorly understood, and it is unknown how vocal learning generalizes across an animal's entire repertoire of natural vocalizations and sequences. Here, we asked whether generalization occurs in a nonhuman vocal learner and quantified its properties. We hypothesized that adaptive error correction of a vocal gesture produced in one sequence would generalize to the same gesture produced in other sequences. To test our hypothesis, we manipulated the fundamental frequency (pitch) of auditory feedback in Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata var. domestica) to create sensory errors during vocal gestures (song syllables) produced in particular sequences. As hypothesized, error-corrective learning on pitch-shifted vocal gestures generalized to the same gestures produced in other sequential contexts. Surprisingly, generalization magnitude depended strongly on sequential distance from the pitch-shifted syllables, with greater adaptation for gestures produced near to the pitch-shifted syllable. A further unexpected result was that nonshifted syllables changed their pitch in the direction opposite from the shifted syllables. This apparently antiadaptive pattern of generalization could not be explained by correlations between generalization and the acoustic similarity to the pitch-shifted syllable. These findings therefore suggest that generalization depends on the type of vocal gesture and its sequential context relative to other gestures and may reflect an advantageous strategy for vocal learning and maintenance. PMID:24741046

  17. Vocal generalization depends on gesture identity and sequence.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, Lukas A; Sober, Samuel J

    2014-04-16

    Generalization, the brain's ability to transfer motor learning from one context to another, occurs in a wide range of complex behaviors. However, the rules of generalization in vocal behavior are poorly understood, and it is unknown how vocal learning generalizes across an animal's entire repertoire of natural vocalizations and sequences. Here, we asked whether generalization occurs in a nonhuman vocal learner and quantified its properties. We hypothesized that adaptive error correction of a vocal gesture produced in one sequence would generalize to the same gesture produced in other sequences. To test our hypothesis, we manipulated the fundamental frequency (pitch) of auditory feedback in Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata var. domestica) to create sensory errors during vocal gestures (song syllables) produced in particular sequences. As hypothesized, error-corrective learning on pitch-shifted vocal gestures generalized to the same gestures produced in other sequential contexts. Surprisingly, generalization magnitude depended strongly on sequential distance from the pitch-shifted syllables, with greater adaptation for gestures produced near to the pitch-shifted syllable. A further unexpected result was that nonshifted syllables changed their pitch in the direction opposite from the shifted syllables. This apparently antiadaptive pattern of generalization could not be explained by correlations between generalization and the acoustic similarity to the pitch-shifted syllable. These findings therefore suggest that generalization depends on the type of vocal gesture and its sequential context relative to other gestures and may reflect an advantageous strategy for vocal learning and maintenance.

  18. Past and present research on gray whale vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ollervides, Francisco

    2002-05-01

    Eberhadt and Evans first recorded vocalizations of gray whales in 1967 in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, Mexico. Three and a half decades of bioacoustic research on gray whales has followed this groundbreaking work. Gray whales appear more vocal while at the southern breeding lagoons off Baja California and are least vocal at the northern feeding areas of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. Ten different vocalizations have been identified on the breeding grounds, while only six different vocalizations have been recorded on the feeding grounds. Evans also conducted the first recordings of vocalizations of gray whales in captivity with his work on J.J. II in San Diego in 1974. Since then, the database of captive gray whale vocalizations has expanded with research on GiGi in 1997. From this review, an acoustic repertoire of at least 12 different types of vocalizations is suggested. Nevertheless, not all gray whale calls fall into obvious or distinct categories; thus, correlating specific behaviors with each vocalization type merits further study.

  19. Frequency and significance of vocalizations in Sydenham's chorea.

    PubMed

    de Teixeira, Antonio Lúcio; Cardoso, Francisco; Maia, Débora P; Sacramento, Daniel R; Mota, Cleonice de Carvalho Coelho; Meira, Zilda Maria Alves; Lees, Andrew

    2009-01-01

    Sydenham's chorea (SC) is a complication of Streptococcus infection characterized by a combination of motor and non-motor features. We have investigated the presence of vocalizations in 89 consecutive patients with SC evaluated during a one-year period in the UFMG Movement Disorders Clinic. Seven (4/3 M/F) of the 89 patients (29/60 M/F) presented with simple vocalizations not preceded by premonitory sensations but in association with facial chorea in five patients. These findings suggest that vocalizations are not a common feature in SC and their phenomenology is quite distinct from the characteristics of vocal tics in tic disorders.

  20. Discriminating Simulated Vocal Tremor Source Using Amplitude Modulation Spectra

    PubMed Central

    Carbonell, Kathy M.; Lester, Rosemary A.; Story, Brad H.; Lotto, Andrew J.

    2014-01-01

    Objectives/Hypothesis Sources of vocal tremor are difficult to categorize perceptually and acoustically. This paper describes a preliminary attempt to discriminate vocal tremor sources through the use of spectral measures of the amplitude envelope. The hypothesis is that different vocal tremor sources are associated with distinct patterns of acoustic amplitude modulations. Study Design Statistical categorization methods (discriminant function analysis) were used to discriminate signals from simulated vocal tremor with different sources using only acoustic measures derived from the amplitude envelopes. Methods Simulations of vocal tremor were created by modulating parameters of a vocal fold model corresponding to oscillations of respiratory driving pressure (respiratory tremor), degree of vocal fold adduction (adductory tremor) and fundamental frequency of vocal fold vibration (F0 tremor). The acoustic measures were based on spectral analyses of the amplitude envelope computed across the entire signal and within select frequency bands. Results The signals could be categorized (with accuracy well above chance) in terms of the simulated tremor source using only measures of the amplitude envelope spectrum even when multiple sources of tremor were included. Conclusions These results supply initial support for an amplitude-envelope based approach to identify the source of vocal tremor and provide further evidence for the rich information about talker characteristics present in the temporal structure of the amplitude envelope. PMID:25532813

  1. Vocal Emotion of Humanoid Robots: A Study from Brain Mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Youhui; Hu, Xiaohua; Zhou, Jie; Kuo, Taitzong

    2014-01-01

    Driven by rapid ongoing advances in humanoid robot, increasing attention has been shifted into the issue of emotion intelligence of AI robots to facilitate the communication between man-machines and human beings, especially for the vocal emotion in interactive system of future humanoid robots. This paper explored the brain mechanism of vocal emotion by studying previous researches and developed an experiment to observe the brain response by fMRI, to analyze vocal emotion of human beings. Findings in this paper provided a new approach to design and evaluate the vocal emotion of humanoid robots based on brain mechanism of human beings. PMID:24587712

  2. The origins of the vocal brain in humans.

    PubMed

    Belyk, Michel; Brown, Steven

    2017-03-27

    The evolution of vocal communication in humans required the emergence of not only voluntary control of the vocal apparatus and a flexible vocal repertoire, but the capacity for vocal learning. All of these capacities are lacking in non-human primates, suggesting that the vocal brain underwent significant modifications during human evolution. We review research spanning from early neurophysiological descriptions of great apes to the state of the art in human neuroimaging on the neural organization of the larynx motor cortex, the major regulator of vocalization for both speech and song in humans. We describe changes to the location, structure, function, and connectivity of the larynx motor cortex in humans compared with non-human primates, including critical gaps in the current understanding of the brain systems mediating vocal control and vocal learning. We explore a number of models of the origins of the vocal brain that incorporate findings from comparative neuroscience, and conclude by presenting a summary of contemporary hypotheses that can guide future research.

  3. Vocal emotion of humanoid robots: a study from brain mechanism.

    PubMed

    Wang, Youhui; Hu, Xiaohua; Dai, Weihui; Zhou, Jie; Kuo, Taitzong

    2014-01-01

    Driven by rapid ongoing advances in humanoid robot, increasing attention has been shifted into the issue of emotion intelligence of AI robots to facilitate the communication between man-machines and human beings, especially for the vocal emotion in interactive system of future humanoid robots. This paper explored the brain mechanism of vocal emotion by studying previous researches and developed an experiment to observe the brain response by fMRI, to analyze vocal emotion of human beings. Findings in this paper provided a new approach to design and evaluate the vocal emotion of humanoid robots based on brain mechanism of human beings.

  4. Vocal-tract filtering by lingual articulation in a parrot.

    PubMed

    Beckers, Gabriël J L; Nelson, Brian S; Suthers, Roderick A

    2004-09-07

    Human speech and bird vocalization are complex communicative behaviors with notable similarities in development and underlying mechanisms. However, there is an important difference between humans and birds in the way vocal complexity is generally produced. Human speech originates from independent modulatory actions of a sound source, e.g., the vibrating vocal folds, and an acoustic filter, formed by the resonances of the vocal tract (formants). Modulation in bird vocalization, in contrast, is thought to originate predominantly from the sound source, whereas the role of the resonance filter is only subsidiary in emphasizing the complex time-frequency patterns of the source (e.g., but see ). However, it has been suggested that, analogous to human speech production, tongue movements observed in parrot vocalizations modulate formant characteristics independently from the vocal source. As yet, direct evidence of such a causal relationship is lacking. In five Monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus, we replaced the vocal source, the syrinx, with a small speaker that generated a broad-band sound, and we measured the effects of tongue placement on the sound emitted from the beak. The results show that tongue movements cause significant frequency changes in two formants and cause amplitude changes in all four formants present between 0.5 and 10 kHz. We suggest that lingual articulation may thus in part explain the well-known ability of parrots to mimic human speech, and, even more intriguingly, may also underlie a speech-like formant system in natural parrot vocalizations.

  5. Computational acoustic modeling of cetacean vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gurevich, Michael Dixon

    A framework for computational acoustic modeling of hypothetical vocal production mechanisms in cetaceans is presented. As a specific example, a model of a proposed source in the larynx of odontocetes is developed. Whales and dolphins generate a broad range of vocal sounds, but the exact mechanisms they use are not conclusively understood. In the fifty years since it has become widely accepted that whales can and do make sound, how they do so has remained particularly confounding. Cetaceans' highly divergent respiratory anatomy, along with the difficulty of internal observation during vocalization have contributed to this uncertainty. A variety of acoustical, morphological, ethological and physiological evidence has led to conflicting and often disputed theories of the locations and mechanisms of cetaceans' sound sources. Computational acoustic modeling has been used to create real-time parametric models of musical instruments and the human voice. These techniques can be applied to cetacean vocalizations to help better understand the nature and function of these sounds. Extensive studies of odontocete laryngeal morphology have revealed vocal folds that are consistently similar to a known but poorly understood acoustic source, the ribbon reed. A parametric computational model of the ribbon reed is developed, based on simplified geometrical, mechanical and fluid models drawn from the human voice literature. The physical parameters of the ribbon reed model are then adapted to those of the odontocete larynx. With reasonable estimates of real physical parameters, both the ribbon reed and odontocete larynx models produce sounds that are perceptually similar to their real-world counterparts, and both respond realistically under varying control conditions. Comparisons of acoustic features of the real-world and synthetic systems show a number of consistencies. While this does not on its own prove that either model is conclusively an accurate description of the source, it

  6. Rates of reinforcement and measures of compliance in free and protected contact elephant management systems.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Megan L; Perdue, Bonnie M; Bloomsmith, Mollie A; Maple, Terry L

    2015-01-01

    Protected contact is an alternative to traditional captive elephant training techniques that emerged as a result of concerns for animal welfare and personnel safety. The present study documented the behavior of elephants and their animal care professionals to determine rates of reinforcement and measures of compliance under two handling systems. Behavioral data were collected from animal care professionals and elephants during the elephants' baths in both free contact (FC) and protected contact (PC). Positive reinforcement, in the form of food, was delivered, on average, nearly eight times more frequently in the PC condition. Further, the mean rate at which the animal care professionals used the ankus in the FC condition as negative reinforcement was similar to the mean rate at which they provided positive reinforcement to the elephants in the FC condition. Latencies between verbal commands and the elephants' behaviors demonstrated an inconsistent pattern, but were generally longer in the PC condition. The mean percent of "refusals" by the elephants was higher for most behaviors across elephants in the PC condition. The findings suggest that animal care professionals did not heavily rely on positive reinforcement in the FC condition to elicit desired behaviors from the elephants, but this was the case in the PC condition. We propose that longer latencies and higher mean percent of refusals by the elephants may indicate that they were exercising choice or control over their environment, which has been associated with improved well-being. Additional studies of this kind are needed to enable other institutions to make informed decisions about elephant management and welfare.

  7. Prolonged fasting increases glutathione biosynthesis in postweaned northern elephant seals.

    PubMed

    Vázquez-Medina, José Pablo; Zenteno-Savín, Tania; Forman, Henry Jay; Crocker, Daniel E; Ortiz, Rudy M

    2011-04-15

    Northern elephant seals experience prolonged periods of absolute food and water deprivation (fasting) while breeding, molting or weaning. The postweaning fast in elephant seals is characterized by increases in the renin-angiotensin system, expression of the oxidant-producing protein Nox4, and NADPH oxidase activity; however, these increases are not correlated with increased oxidative damage or inflammation. Glutathione (GSH) is a potent reductant and a cofactor for glutathione peroxidases (GPx), glutathione-S transferases (GST) and 1-cys peroxiredoxin (PrxVI) and thus contributes to the removal of hydroperoxides, preventing oxidative damage. The effects of prolonged food deprivation on the GSH system are not well described in mammals. To test our hypothesis that GSH biosynthesis increases with fasting in postweaned elephant seals, we measured circulating and muscle GSH content at the early and late phases of the postweaning fast in elephant seals along with the activity/protein content of glutamate-cysteine ligase [GCL; catalytic (GCLc) and modulatory (GCLm) subunits], γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), glutathione disulphide reductase (GR), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), GST and PrxVI, as well as plasma changes in γ-glutamyl amino acids, glutamate and glutamine. GSH increased two- to four-fold with fasting along with a 40-50% increase in the content of GCLm and GCLc, a 75% increase in GGT activity, a two- to 2.5-fold increase in GR, G6PDH and GST activities and a 30% increase in PrxVI content. Plasma γ-glutamyl glutamine, γ-glutamyl isoleucine and γ-glutamyl methionine also increased with fasting whereas glutamate and glutamine decreased. Results indicate that GSH biosynthesis increases with fasting and that GSH contributes to counteracting hydroperoxide production, preventing oxidative damage in fasting seals.

  8. Elephant trail runoff and sediment dynamics in northern Thailand.

    PubMed

    Sidle, Roy C; Ziegler, Alan D

    2010-01-01

    Although elephants may exert various impacts on the environment, no data are available on the effects of elephant trails on runoff, soil erosion, and sediment transport to streams during storms. We monitored water and sediment fluxes from an elephant trail in northern Thailand during seven monsoon storms representing a wide range of rainfall energies. Runoff varied from trivial amounts to 353 mm and increased rapidly in tandem with expanding contributing areas once a threshold of wetting occurred. Runoff coefficients during the two largest storms were much higher than could be generated from the trail itself, implying a 4.5- to 7.9-fold increase in the drainage areas contributing to storm runoff. Clockwise hysteresis patterns of suspended sediment observed during most storms was amplified by a "first flush" of sediment early on the hydrograph in which easily entrained sediment was transported. As runoff areas expanded during the latter part of large storms, discharge increased but sediment concentrations declined. Thus, sediment flux was better correlated to kinetic energy of rainfall on the falling limbs of most storm hydrographs compared to rising limbs. Based on a power function relationship between sediment flux and storm kinetic energy, the estimated annual sediment yield from the trail for 135 storms in 2005 was 308 to 375 Mg ha(-1) yr(-1), higher than from most disturbed land surfaces in the tropics. The eight largest storms (30% of total storm energy) in 2005 transported half of the total annual sediment. These measurements together with site investigations reveal that highly interconnected elephant trails, together with other source areas, directly link runoff and sediment to streams.

  9. Asteroid Lightcurve Analysis at Elephant Head Observatory: 2013 August- October

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alkema, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

    Photometric observations of two main-belt asteroids, 541 Deborah and 1468 Zomba, were made from Elephant Head Observatory during 2013 August to October. The period and amplitude results are, respectively, P = 29.368 ± 0.005 h, A = 0.10 ± 0.01 mag; P = 2.773 ± 0.001 h, A = 0.34 ± 0.02 mag.

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