A new study revealed that wolves have their own language dialects which allow them to communicate with each other.
A group of researchers from the University of Cambridge conducted a study on canines and their methods to communicate with their fellows. They found these animals have their own howling dialects. For their research, experts analyzed the howls of different canine species.
“the animals’ accent or vocal fluctuations are closely related to breed and location. Also, scientists added that ‘We found that different species and subspecies showed markedly different use of howl types, indicating that howl modulation is not arbitrary, but can be used to distinguish one population from another.”
For example, the timber wolf’s howls are heavy with flat sounds, while the red wolf’s howl is high, with looping fluctuations. Moreover, wolves’ behavior is surprisingly close to that of humans. Dr. Arik Kershenbaum, zoologist at the University of Cambridge, believes dogs were easily domesticated over years due to their similarities with humans.
Also, scientists consider that being aware of communication methods of such animals is an essential key in finding how they evolved over the years. Researchers recorded 6000 howls from wild and captive animals in Australia, India, Europe and the United States.
The howls were narrowed down to 2000 which were loaded into machine learning algorithms to be turned into discrete types. Experts found the majority of the 13 species they examined had distinct features. Only a small part of them presented similar qualities. Scientists think this may have an impact on interbreeding and could threaten a species’ survival.
Moreover, it was estimated that red wolves’ survival is threatened by interbreeding with coyotes. This study may help experts to find new ways to keep the populations apart. Nonetheless, there is still uncertain what the different howls mean and what exactly the animals are communicating.
At the moment, the scientists are working in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S using recording technology to track both sounds and location. This might reveal if some of the howls are related to distance communication or warnings.
What’s more, researchers think studying the vocalization of animals that are similar to us might point out the evolution of our own language. If canines have their own language dialects it’s possible that their evolutionary process might as well be related to the development of human’s language system.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia