voice

about whales and elephants ...



"I heard a faint rumble and the animals shifted, but Pet held her own.

The air thrilled a little: I felt happy for Pet.

Here came Jim with the grain and hay. All the elephants moved to

greet him, and I enjoyed his gentle voice, and again sensed a kind of

thrill in the air.

Here stood little Sunshine reaching toward me through the bars; behind

her, her mother standing by, to ʻturn me into noodlesʼ should I prove

untrustworthy. The airplaine throbbed, reminding me of the faint

throbbing, or thrilling, or shuddering I´ d felt at that moment. It had

been like the feeling of thunder but there´ d been no thunder. There had

been no loud sound at all, just throbbing and then nothing.

I felt what I could not hear. My ears were approaching the lower limit

of their ability to perceive vibrations as sound.

Among animals only the great fin and blue whales were able to make

powerful infrasonic calls. No land animal approached the mass or power

of these great mammals of the sea, but now I wondered: might

elephants, too, be using infrasound in communication?"

Katy Payne, biologist, 'Silent Thunder, the hidden voice of elephants' (1998), Jonathan Ball Publishers, pp. 20-21