Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 2 – 2002

Simon Klemperer, Geophysics
Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell, Pediatrics
Robert Sapolsky, Biology

In the past year of our Bio-X study, we have characterized the properties of elephant vocalizations as they propagate in the ground as Rayleigh waves and also established that wild elephants can detect seismic cues. We have also documented that elephants have vibration sensitive corpuscles in their feet which may be the mechanism by which elephants can detect the vibrations that their vocalizations produce.

Amongst our many goals for next year, we hope to establish how far an elephant vocalization can travel in the ground, how far an elephant is able to detect these seismic vocalizations, and to what extent an elephant is capable of distinguishing biologically meaningful information from the seismic cues they can detect.