Eland Bull Dominance
Eland Bull Dominance
by Gerhard R Damm
Cape Eland Bull
Scientists from the Zoological Society of London and the University of Copenhagen reported in recorded the journal BMC Biology that the depth of the clicking sounds produced by walking eland bulls correlates to body size and are signals to show the bulls' fighting potential thus establishing mating rights. The sound is thought to be made as a tendon in the animals' legs slips over one of the leg bones, and can be heard from hundreds of meters away. "The tendon in this case behaves like a string being plucked, and the frequency of the sound from a string correlates negatively with both its length and diameter," said Jakob Bro-Jorgensen. That means that the sound signals how large - and thus how fighting fit - the Eland bulls are. The bulls can thus establish mating rights among each other while avoiding actual fights. The unusual approach adds to the list of signals that are known in Eland bulls to provide an indication of their status, like the dewlap under their throats which indicates age, and the darkness of their hair which indicates levels of aggression.
Cape Eland Bull
Thats some pretty cool info thanks for sharing.:D
...I think this scientific study may be a little hypothetical?? It may pertain to the little bulls vs the big boys BUT... Take a cow in heat & there are 2 or 3 big boys that are fully mature in the area I'm not to sure they aren't going to come in and check the cow out. The clicking noise isn't going to scare the big boys off. I would assume there will be some fighting just like I've heard Kudus do or much more familiar to me White Tail Deer!
The second photo is clearly of a Livingston Eland and not of a Cape.
Eland bulls do fight and they do kill each other, just as Kudus do.
There are two theories about the clicking sound that big bulls make. By watching at hundreds of eland over waterholes I am a supporter of the second theory. That is that the sound is made by the hooves. If you look closely you will see that the sound come the moment that the front hoove lift of the ground. The body weight of the eland bull will push the two parts of the hoove away and the moment that the hoove come off the ground the two parts will click back against each other.
Its also hard for me to believe that a wet tendon can make that "dry" cracking sound.
I did not study in England or Denmark, but I just look and learn from the African bush.
Interesting read; love the follow-up replies :D "who to believe"
100% spot on Andries
I have on many occations in the bush seen and heard the same "clicking" from Eland and can confirm that it is the hooves making it as you explained.
I can also confirm that adult cows hooves will make the same clicking sound when walking or at a slow trot - so nothing to do with bull dominance.
The Zoo boys need to get into the bush for their studies!! :smoking:
I second the clicking-hooves theory.
A few years ago on safari we spent a lot of time in hides waiting for eland to come in; the heard was mixed group: cows and juveniles and up to three mature bulls. My PH explained the sound and once the animals are in full view and up close, the sound is clearly made as the hoof leaves the ground.
I've skinned a lot of animals including two bull eland and there was nothing different about those tendons or the basic anatomy around the hoof to those found in buffalo or bushbuck as far as I could see...!
Thank you for this good post, I have had heard so many different story's during the years about the "clicking" sounds. Now at last I also know why this "clicking" sound is made. It does give them away a lot of time when you stalk them and the wind is not too strong.... Advantage for the hunter though.