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)