Wolves use 21 types of howl­ing `di­alects'

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

A STUDY on howl­ing by canid species has found that wolves have dis­tinc­tive howl­ing reper­toires that func­tion like di­alects. A re­search team from the US, Bri­tain, Spain and In­dia ran more than 2,000 dif­fer­ent recorded howls from 13 canid species through a soft­ware al­go­rithm that boiled them down to 21 howl types. The sci­en­tists say their find­ings could aid in con­ser­va­tion. For ex­am­ple, the vo­cal di­alects used by the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered red wolf and the coy­ote over­lapped sig­nif­i­cantly. Lead au­thor Arik Ker­shen­baum says the howl­ing over­lap could be a rea­son why both were so likely to mate with each other. He said sci­en­tists could take ad­van­tage of the sub­tle dif­fer­ences in howl­ing to keep the pop­u­la­tions apart. The study has been pub­lished in Be­haviouralPro­cesses.

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