It seems the best friends of man, wolves and dogs have their own howling dialects. The finding is the result of a new study on the matter which has demonstrated that the canines speak in more than two thousand dialects that extend across multiple species and subspecies.
The research was conducted by University of Cambridge researchers who have reached the conclusion that canines have numerous dialects and accents, just as we humans have in our own speech. What they did was observe and analyze recorded howls of wolves held in captivity and in the wilderness in four corners of the world: the United States, Europe, Australia and India.
The full database contained a tremendous amount of six thousand recordings, so the researchers had to select a range of two thousand for the study. Thus, they managed to cover thirteen wolf species from the database and more from domesticated canines collected from YouTube videos. In the end, they classified 21 types of howls that extended across two thousand dialects. The differences in pitch were captured in order to differentiate between dogs, wolves, coyotes and their subspecies.
The timber wolf has a low and flat howl compared to the one of the red wolf which is whining and high and is emitted in loops. By analyzing and identified each difference between the howls, scientists might be able to find their meaning. However, the sounds were not interpreted by the researchers themselves, but by a machine set to scan the soundwaves and use an algorithm to classify them.
The recent study provides an invaluable insight into the wolves’ behavior, but it could also help us humans better understand the origins of our own languages, accents and dialects. Furthermore, if we could understand the meaning of the howls we might be able to save certain species from extinction.
Dr. Arik Kershenbaum, the study’s lead author, believes that even though humans are not related to wolves, they do share many similarities. We are both social creatures that live in packs and thus communication is of utmost importance.
While scientists are trying to better understand the howls of the wolves and determine whether they can give us more information about our origins, Kershenbaum is set to start recording once more in the Yellowstone National Park, along with his team.
The fact that wolves and dogs have their own howling dialects is just one in a string of recent discoveries about the amazing abilities of the animals that share this planet with us.
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