Researchers have revealed a new way of tracking elephants, thanks to the vibrations produced by animals.
Scientists Beth Mortimer and Tarja Nissen-Meyer, scientists, have discovered that the elephants create vibrations through their normal movements and vocalization, called snoring.
This can be measured by the techniques commonly used for earthquake research.
Oxford scientists spoke of their research at the current TEDwomen conference in California.
They explained how they measured seismic waves that could travel almost four miles across the ground.
They recorded the vibrations created by wild elephants in Kenya during walking and calling, using instruments called geophones.
Seismic modeling software that integrates local geological information combines computer algorithms to obtain accurate estimates of seismic waves generated by elephants.
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They recorded the animals during recording and then synchronized them to confirm that vibrations came from the elephants visually.
They found that other types of noise and soil affect their ability to distinguish large distances. Vibrations extend further into the sand than on the hard rock, and also when there is little noise to interfere.
Detecting what the elephants do, even at a distance, can help fight real-time mischief and insight into their behavior, they said.
Their findings were published in Current Biology magazine earlier this year.
Frank Pope, Executive Director of Save The Elephants, said on the research: "Legends and folklore are a long explanation for elephants not only to communicate at longer distances but also to uncover other events that stimulate the world, such as earthquakes.
"This study marks a new phase in understanding the nature of the vibrations created by the elephants and to slice them down.
"By the way, it opens our eyes to the challenges caused by man-made noise in an increasingly populated landscape."