Academic journal article Science and Children

Wolf Species Have "Howling Dialects"

Academic journal article Science and Children

Wolf Species Have "Howling Dialects"

Article excerpt

According to a new study, species and subspecies in the canid family--which includes wolves, jackals, and domestic dogs--have vocal fingerprints, different types of howls used with varying regularity depending on the canid species.

Researchers used computer algorithms for the first time to analyze howling, distilling over 2,000 different howls into 21 howl types of canid based on pitch and fluctuation and matching patterns of howling. They found that the frequency with which types of howls are used--from flat to highly modulated--corresponded to the species of canid, whether dog or coyote, and to the subspecies of wolf.

For example, the howling repertoire of the timber wolf is heavy with low, flat howls but doesn't feature the high, looping vocal tone most frequently used in the range of howls by endangered red wolves.

Lead researcher Dr. Arik Kershenbaum describes these distinctive howl repertoires as resembling vocal dialects, with each species having its own identifiable use of the various howl types. He says the findings could be used to better track and manage wild wolf populations and help mitigate conflict with farmers. …

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