A PhD student at the University of Sydney, Alexandra Green, studied a herd of cows for more than five months to study what she called cattle vocal individuality. Cows, it turns out, have a lot to say to each other! Plus: the story of Manuela, a tortoise in Brazil who probably should’ve spoken up at some point.
Cowmoonication: Research finds cows ‘talk’ to each other (New Zealand Herald)
Today we hear what cows have to say, which is plenty, it turns out.
A PhD student at the University of Sydney, Alexandra Green, studied a herd of cows for more than five months to study what she called cattle vocal individuality.
She recorded hundreds of vocalizations in a range of situations to find out whether the sounds they make might reflect what they’re thinking or feeling.
Green found that cows express themselves with a variety of sounds, and for a variety of reasons.
They use sounds to express excitement, say, when feeding time is coming up.
And when they want food but there’s no feed nearby, they make sounds to express those negative emotions.
One of the study’s findings is that cows use their sounds to keep contact with the rest of the herd.
So they’re not just talking to themselves. They want to tell the other cows what’s up.
Green’s hope is that if farmers can understand the sounds cows make and why, they can better meet those cows’ needs, and, eventually, give them more reasons to make happy cow noises.
One last bit of animal news before we go: it’s about Manuela the tortoise.
Decades ago she was a part of the Almeida family in Brazil, but in 1982 she went missing.
The family figured she’d wandered away from the house during a construction project.
But while doing a household deep clean, the family learned that Manuela had been there all along!
She’d been subsisting on termites in a very cluttered storage room, and didn’t speak up about it, because, well, she’s a tortoise.