[MARMAM] New publication on elephant seal vocal recognition

Stephen Insley sinsley at ucsc.edu
Tue Dec 13 23:54:00 PST 2011

The following paper is now available online:

Insley, S.J. and Holt, M.M. 2012. Do male northern elephant seals
recognize individuals
or merely relative dominance rank? J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 131 (1), pp.
EL35-41. Published Online 13 December 2011.

The publication is available online at:


Vocal recognition was tested in a socially dynamic context where many
individuals interact: the female defense polygyny practiced by male
northern elephant seals. The goal was to tease apart whether animals
recognize other individuals or instead use a simple rule-based category
(i.e., relative dominance rank). A total of 67 playback experiments conducted
with 18 males at An˜o Nuevo State Reserve, California, tested three aspects
of recognition: (1) recognition of relative rank; (2) whether such
recognition was continuous or categorical; and (3) recognition of
familiarity. Results indicate that males recognize familiar individuals
although responses are primarily based on relative dominance rank.

© 2012 /Acoustical Society of America/
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