A new study published on July 20 in Current Biology suggests that elephant seals are able to recognize the tone and rhythmic patterns of their rivals’ calls. Just as it is with people who squabble online, maintaining dominance is very important to elephant seals’ social order. A team of researchers spent weeks studying an elephant seal colony in Año Nuevo State Park, California, where they were able to identify the alpha male and record his call. The team changed the rhythm and timbre of the call, and presented two modified versions back to the seal colony, in addition to the original.
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