Researchers have for the first time translated the different howling dialects of wolves. A new study from the University of Cambridge suggests that the animals’ “accents” or “vocal fingerprints” largely depend on breed and location.
A total of 21 howl types were identified based on pitch and fluctuation and then assigned to specific subspecies of wolf, as well as jackals and domestic dogs. For example, the howling repertoire of the timber wolf is heavy with low, flat howls, while the critically endangered red wolf has a high, looping howl. Researchers believe their findings may help conservationists protect certain subspecies, and even shed light on the earliest evolution of human language.
“Wolves may not be close to us taxonomically, but ecologically their behavior in a social structure is remarkably close to that of humans. That’s why we domesticated dogs – they are very similar to us,” lead researcher Dr. Arik Kershenbaum, from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology, said a news release.
Their study was recently published in the journal Behavioural Processes.
Researchers have identified several different dialects of wolves, coyotes and dogs. (Photo : Flickr: Fool4myCanon)