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: 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)