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AI Earth Science

Wolves Howl In Different 'Dialects,' Machine Learning Finds (vice.com) 50

derekmead writes: Differentiating wolf howls with human ears can prove tricky, so researchers have turned to computer algorithms to suss out if different wolf species howl differently. They think that understanding wolf howls could help improve wolf conservation and management programs. In a study published in the journal Behavioural Processes, a group of international researchers describe using machine learning for the first time to analyze 2,000 wolf howls gathered from both wild and domesticated wolves and their subspecies from around the world.
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Wolves Howl In Different 'Dialects,' Machine Learning Finds

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  • Are you listening?
  • ...kiecrisp.

  • What did the Eastern Timber Wolf say to the Great Plains Wolf? "You have the worst accent..."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    * Please try to keep posts on topic.
    * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads.
    * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said.
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    * If you want replies to your c

    • * Please try to keep posts on topic.
      * Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads.
      * Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said.
      * Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about.
      * Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)
      * If you want replies to your c

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @11:20PM (#51466893)
    it's HOWL it's said
  • 1) we knew what the wolves were saying, and by the way, do dogs howl in different languages? and

    2) the poster sent us to a non-firewalled version of the story, which the authors can do but apparently haven't. (Grr. Elsevier)
    • Re:If only (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Tuesday February 09, 2016 @04:52AM (#51467685) Homepage

      We have known for a while that other animals have regional accents. Dogs can only make a small number of different vocalizations, but cats can make over 100. Sure enough, cats have regional accents.

    • do dogs howl in different languages?

      I suspect they do.
      The only evidence I have is anecdotal but hear me out:
      I love cat videos (yes, yes, I know, very original) and I've watched hundreds.
      One thing I noticed was that cats that came from asia tended to have strange-sounding (to my ears) meows.
      Researchers (not sourced, sorry) have discovered that cats meow not for each other but rather as an attempt to communicate with humans.

      Might cats adapt their meows regionally to maximize their effect with the folks they'r

  • If we knew what they were trying to communicate, we'd probably find they have different languages too. Same as with people, without long distance travel/communication there's no reason to believe they'd share a language. We've seen this both on the macro scale through colonization wiping out many local languages and on the micro scale through building bridges to islands, linguists found that dialects became much less distinct. And with mass media and the Internet I'm sure we're converging even stronger now.

    • If we knew what they were trying to communicate

      It's not hard to determine what wolves are trying to say. After watching this wild life documentary, I'm pretty sure I can speak wolf.

      https://youtu.be/lVN1Apz45AE [youtu.be]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If we knew what they were trying to communicate, we'd probably find they have different languages too.

      Biologists have identified a surprisingly wide range of possible functions: Wolves howl to assemble their pack, attract a mate, mark territory, scare off enemies, signal alarm or communicate their position. Sometimes they howl when they wake up in the morning, like humans yawning during a stretch.

      The news here is how far Machine learning has progressed. They didn't find anything that wasn't already known by biologists.
      When scientists expand into a field they aren't familiar with it's a bit like watching a c

  • I guess anything but trivial clustering algorithms are "machine learning", but rather than "using machine learning" it'd be more straightforward to describe them as having "applied a clustering algorithm" to see if calls can be grouped into, well, different clusters. That is an idea that's been floating around biology now and then, with a lot of work on clustering bird calls especially.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday February 09, 2016 @01:39AM (#51467323) Homepage Journal

    Gary Larson predicted [imgur.com] this.

  • Aroooooooooooooo! Arooooooooooo!

  • ...ducks quack in different dialects as well. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/... [bbc.co.uk]
  • Sounds like a textbook case of unsupervised learning. Andrew Ng would be proud.
  • Time to rehash an old show and re-center it around a plucky, but mildly introverted, genius kid who is developing the tech to talk to wolves while the rest of the crew engage in zany adventures sailing the Great Plains in their steam punk land submarine.

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