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November 3 2013

The elephant in the room: Elephant vocal folds may hold clues to human sound production


Up until a year ago, how an elephant made its guttural infrasonic calls was still a matter of debate, as Christian Herbst, from the University of Vienna, Austria, points out: 'Some people suggested it's just like in us humans, so a passive, flow-induced vibration of the tissue in the larynx, and others suggested it's like purring in cats [requiring neural control].

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