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Elephants prove discerning listeners of us humans

Elephants prove discerning listeners of us humans


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WASHINGTON (AP) — They say an elephant never forgets. Now it turns out they may be discerning listeners, too.

Scientists report that elephants can tell the difference between human languages, and they can tell whether a voice comes from a man, woman or boy.

That's what researchers found when they played recordings of people for wild elephants in Kenya. Scientists say this is an advanced thinking skill that other animals haven't shown. It lets elephants figure out who is a threat and who isn't.

Study author Karen McComb at the University of Sussex in England said it also shows that while humans have studied elephants, the clever animals are studying us.

The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Seth Borenstein

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