African elephants are on a first name basis with each other

Elephants are truly magnificent creatures — enormous and emotional and very, very smart. Being up close with one in the wild is a surprisingly moving experience. Made more so by the knowledge that they are rapidly disappearing from the Earth. I really get why humans might kill other humans… but only a monster would kill an elephant. 

I don't know if this amazing story in The Guardian about elephants giving each other names will ultimately be disproven some day, but I am really here for it. 

Elephants call out to each other using individual names that they invent for their fellow pachyderms, according to a new study.

While dolphins and parrots have been observed addressing each other by mimicking the sound of others from their species, elephants are the first non-human animals known to use names that do not involve imitation, the researchers suggested.

Damn! Very cool. How exactly did they determine this?

For the new study… a team of international researchers used an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyse the calls of two wild herds of African savanna elephants in Kenya.

The research "not only shows that elephants use specific vocalisations for each individual, but that they recognise and react to a call addressed to them while ignoring those addressed to others," the lead study author, Michael Pardo, said.

Too bad we don't yet have a universal translator to determine what their names are. Would they be on the nose, like Tusky or Trunko? Or more indicative of character, like Human Stomper or Dirt Bather?

Protecting these amazing creatures should be one of our top priorities as humans. IMHO.

Angry elephant terrifies tourists — who got too close — when it lifts and slams their safari truck