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Elephants can tell difference between human languages

Published on Mar 11, 2014 6:11 AM
An elephant grazes at Amboseli National Park, approximately 220 kms southeast of Nairobi, Kenya on Oct 7, 2013.  -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - African elephants can differentiate between human languages and move away from those considered a threat, a skill they have honed to survive in the wild, researchers said on Monday.

The study suggests elephants, already known to be intelligent creatures, are even more sophisticated than previously believed when it comes to understanding human dangers.

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are the largest land animals on Earth and are considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their ivory tusks.

Researchers played recordings of human voices for elephants at Amboseli National Park in Kenya to see how they would respond, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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