We Can Now Identify Each Wolf by Its Howl
New audio analysis should be big help in monitoring packs
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2013 3:41 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Howling wolves may sound alike to us humans, but each howl is distinct—and researchers have for the first time developed a system to tell them apart and identify individuals, reports Nature World News. British scientists at Nottingham Trent University developed software that measures pitch and volume so precisely that it correctly identified wolves 100% of the time in 67 solo howls. Even in group howls, it detected individuals with 97% accuracy.

"In scientific terms this is really exciting, because it means that if we hear a howl on night one we can tell if it is or isn't the same wolf that you hear on subsequent nights," says one of the researchers. That could be a huge help in keeping track of wolf packs because the audio analysis will be cheaper and easier than, say, putting GPS collars on the animals, notes the Conversation blog. Another intriguing detail: The researchers detected a "regional accent" from the howls of wolves in a specific area, reports Wired. (Dolphins may top even that: They appear to have names for each other.)

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Showing 3 of 18 comments
davesthoughts
Jul 27, 2013 5:03 PM CDT
last week it was the dolphins this week it's the wolves what's next week
Smitty6398
Jul 27, 2013 9:00 AM CDT
As shy as wolves are of civilization, 1100 carcasses would indicate a fairly strong and robust population. Granted, predator animals serve a function in nature. However, mankind is the ultimate predator and will eliminate all prey, and predators, including themselves; left unchecked. And will probably be eradicated by the smallest of living things, microbe-sized germs, viruses, etc. Remember reading about the 'Black Plague' ? My 500th Newser Post !
right2dave
Jul 27, 2013 6:36 AM CDT
Really exciting? Get a life.