Elephants in Kenya reacted with greater fear when they detected the scent of garments previously worn by Maasai warriors than by Kamba men, the researchers reported. Maasai warriors are known to demonstrate their virility by spearing elephants, while the Kamba agriculturalists today pose little threat, they explained. The elephants also respond aggressively to red clothing, which is traditionally worn by young Maasai men.
On the basis of earlier anecdotal evidence of elephants¡¯ behavior toward Maasai people and their cattle, ¡°We expected that elephants might be able to distinguish among different human groups according to the level of risk that each presents to them, and we were not disappointed,¡± said Richard Byrne of the University of St. Andrews.
¡°In fact, we think that this is the first time that it has been experimentally shown that any animal can categorize a single species of potential predator into subclasses based on such subtle cues,¡± added Lucy Bates, also at the University of St. Andrews.
In the current study, working with the long-running Amboseli Elephant Research Project, the researchers first presented elephants with clean, red clothing and with red clothing that had been worn for five days by either a Maasai or a Kamba man. In comparison to either a Kamba-worn or unworn garment, Maasai-scented clothing motivated elephants to travel significantly faster in the first minute after they began to move, the researchers found. The elephants also traveled farther from the cloth smelling of the Maasai in the first five minutes, and took significantly longer to relax after they stopped running away.
They then investigated whether elephants can also use garment color as a cue to classify humans in the absence of scent differences by comparing their reactions to red versus white cloth. The elephants reacted with more aggression toward red than white, they found, noting that to elephants, red is actually a drab color.
Bates speculated that the difference in the elephants¡¯ emotional reaction to odor versus color might relate to the amount of risk they sense in the two situations, adding that elephants have a keen sense of smell. ¡°With any scent present, fear and escape reactions seem to dominate anything else,¡± she said.
Elephants¡¯ tendency to flee at the mere whiff of a person may have other implications, Byrne said. ¡°While elephants can undoubtedly be dangerous when they come into conflict with humans, our data shows that, given the opportunity, they would far rather run away, even before they encounter the humans in person.
¡°We see this experiment as just a start to investigating precisely how elephants ¡®see the world,¡¯ but it may be that their abilities will turn out to equal or exceed those of our closer relatives, the monkeys and apes,¡± he added.
Nancy Wampler | EurekAlert!
Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex
New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences