Eland Bull Dominance

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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.


Livingston Eland Bull
 
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