A highlight from For African Elephants, Pee Could Be a Potent Trail Marker

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Distances using their incredible memories. An elephant never forgets right. Suggested here in that maybe faction and that exceptional sense of smell is what's critical in these long distance movements. Connie alan is a behavioral ecologist at the university of exeter in the uk. She and her colleagues investigated that idea by testing african elephants ability to tune in on a very specific smell urine. You see elephants. A lot up to fifteen gallons. A day and that urine can contain an array of chemical cues. But i detest all this. The researchers needed some pe- so they headed to a spot along butts. One is not river and waited. We would wait elephants to urinate and within twenty minutes going. Connect these fresh urine samples. Then they set up camera traps on seven elephant trails actually here an elephant brushing against bush here after observing the elephants natural behavior on those paths. They noticed that a majority of them investigated sense along the trail especially elephants traveling alone. Then that's an indication. The researchers say that sense may serve as signposts along the trail next they placed those urine samples had gathered along the trails and they found that for at least two days passing elephants train their trunks on the samples especially samples from mature adults. That's another indication. That sent might be a potent navigational q. Their findings appear in the journal. Animal behavior and based on these results. They hope conservationists might be able to use elephant. pe- as a decoy. If we can trick elephants into thinking the pas of elephants is going this way maybe we can redirect them away from the moment where they are coming into conflict with humans. They'll just have to see what happens once. Elephants get a whiff of that plan. Thanks for listening. For scientific american sixty seconds science. I'm christopher and thirty oughta.

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