Trumpets occurring within the context of intense social interactions such as a Greeting-Ceremony, Mating-Pandemonium, Birth, or other Bonding-Ceremony. Social-Trumpets last less than a second in duration and are typically, or possibly exclusively, produced by females of all age classes, except infants. Structurally, Social-Trumpets are not significantly different from Play-Trumpets although they are significantly different from the other Trumpet context-types.

Social-Trumpeting individuals overlap with the lower frequency Rumbling produced by other participants in a social interaction. We propose that Social-Trumpets function as a sort of exclamation mark, helping to define the level of significance of an event. While the type of Rumbling may indicate of the type of event (e.g. mating, greeting, conflict), we believe that the frequency, and perhaps even the placement, of Social-Trumpets may be an indication of the level of excitement and importance that the elephants collectively confer on an event. In a sense, the use of Social-Trumpets might be viewed as a simple form of syntax qualifying the sequence of calls. More research is clearly needed.

References: Poole 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Affiliative, Birth, Coalition Building, Courtship, Protest & Distress


Context: Affiliative (1)

Pat Derby, Ruby and others come together with a Purposeful-Walk. As they approach one another we hear deep Greeting-Rumbles and they begin Rapid-Ear-Flapping. A young female opens her mouth (Mouth-Open) and gives a loud Social-Trumpet. Ruby (tuskless) is streaming with Temporin. The Rumbling continued as they move rapidly forward with Pat Derby in the lead. Pat Derby gives a loud Ear-Slap and as she turns we see that she, too, is streaming with Temporin.

As they come closer to the camera we hear more and very clear Greeting-Rumbles. Ruby pauses to Urinate and we see that in addition to Temporin she has Ear-Secretion. Pat Derby comes forward and stops to Listen, then she rumbles really loudly as if in response to someone she can hear. Ruby listens too and we think we heard a distant call - several respond. All get Temporin even the calves though the adult females are really streaming. A minute later they meet the others and there is a loud exchange, but the filmmakers had car difficulties and could not follow. We hear roaring and a social trumpet. We see later that the Greeting-Ceremony that the filmmakers missed is with Gina f0263 and others. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Affiliative (2)

This is a very difficult sequence to follow due to the plane overhead and the bushes in the way. We have included it because it is a nice example of Social-Trumpets being given when they family is reacting to something that requires them to act together in solidarity.

Grumpy Grandma's family is feeding on an Acacia tree when Grumpy Grandma attacks a young non-family male who is encroaching on the family and their tree. Someone protests - likely the young male. The male tries to take on Grumpy Grandma and behind the bush we can see them Sashaying as they face one another. The family becomes very agitated by this altercation - and a couple of them give Social-Trumpets as if in solidarity with Grumpy Grandma and then we see them come running in her direction. Grumpy Grandma sees the young male off and both disappear to the right.

The camera pans back to the left and we see Lorato raises her head in alarm. Back to the right we see Grumpy Grandma standing considering the young male she has chased away. And then again further to the right we see the young male. Meanwhile, back to the left another young male comes in and Ear-Folds at the younger females including Little E, his mother and Lorato. Grumpy Grandma comes back with Ear-Secretion that she didn't have earlier. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (1)

Qadija has just Mated with Pascal and Queiroz (circled at the start) is leading the Mating-Pandemonium. She has already given a number of powerful Rumbles and two Roar-Rumbles. As this clip starts she Rumbles again and then walks over to where the mating occurred and gives a Rumble-Roar-Rumble. Qadija runs toward her and Queiroz gives a Social-Trumpet and Rumbles again. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Advertisement & Attraction (2)

Qadija has just Mated with Pascal and a Mating-Pandemonium is on-going. As the clip starts Pascal and the estrous female have walked over to the family. Allomother Qaskazi is trying to get the matriarchs infant to Comfort-Suckle from her. There is a whimsical Social-Trumpet by someone in the group. A female in the foreground walks over to Pascal and reaches Trunk-to-Genitals to sniff his penis and gives a Social-Trumpet. and then Rumbles. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Coalition Building (1)

An End-Zone-Dance is a form of Bonding-Ceremony that takes place after a defensive action. This End-Zone-Dance took place after multiple Group-Advances and multiple Group- and sustained Charges by members of the Mabenzi family.

After Valente's almost two minute Charge which was joined by the entire family, Valente and Mwana Nzo High-Five and others all gather in an End-Zone-Dance - The main players - Valente and Mwana-Nzo Rumble with Open-Mouth, while they display Rapid-Ear-Flapping, Head-Raising, Tail-Raising, and Defecating. They reach their trunks to one another's mouth, Trunk-to-Mouth, and then display Trunk-Twining, Open-Mouth-to-Open-Mouth Intermittently there are Social-Trumpets. Then Mwana Nzo initiates another Group Advance. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Coalition Building (2)

Provocadora, gf0012, has initiated this Group-Advance, which Mwana Nzo, gf0012, now leads - Advancing-Toward us still with a mouthful of food. Behind her Provocadora moves toward Valente, gf0013, and displays Open-Mouth as she reaches her Trunk-to-Mouth to Valente. We see Provocadora raise her head - Head-Raising - in a High-Five and hear what sounds like a Social-Trumpet.

This is part of coalition building as they join forces in this Group-Advance instigated by Provocadora. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Coalition Building (3)

An adult female and two tuskless calves, one about four and the other about 6 are feeding on grass. As we drive up we are unaware that another four year old - the son of the female on the left is separated from the family about 50 meters away and it is probably concern about him that stimulates their response. They react to us in a dramatic fashion, initiated by the larger tuskless juvenile female who Rumble-Roars twice. The other tuskless calf seems to Rumble-Roar, too.

The mother on the left Head-Shakes and Trumpets and the other adult female comes running over to help, also Trumpeting. These are what we would call Social-Trumpets. They Bunch and the two mothers Stand-Tall, Rumbling and Reach-Touch one another and continue to Rumble. The female on the right Trumpets again. The older tuskless reaches Trunk-to-Mouth to the littler one. They Listen. The mother on the right reaches Trunk-to-Mouth to her tuskless calf. The older tuskless touches the younger again, too. They begin feeding again, but continue Rumbling.

We move the car and the female who is missing her male calf Rumbles and then Listens as we stop. Her male calf suddenly comes into frame - we have been hearing him give Separated-Rumbles. He walks to his mother and begins Suckling and then they all move off. The initial behavior and vocalizations are what we call the catch-all term ''Bonding-Ceremony''. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Protest & Distress (1)

Elephants are Browsing along a lugga. A young male comes Charging from the right and Tusks a calf who gives a Roar and Runs-Away. Someone then gives a Social-Trumpet and the male Charges other elephants. It is hard to understand what the problem is although we can hear loud Go-Away birds immediately before. Later the elephants are frightened by something. We would guess he was charging something else and then hit the calf in a pique of Redirected-Aggression. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)