According to a new study, cows actually speak with each other and tell each other how they feel through their moos. Each bovine has unique vocalization characteristics specific to the individual and they change the pitch of their moos depending on their emotions at the time according to th University of Sydney study.
The lead author of the University of Sydney study Alexandra Green said:
“Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life. This is the first time we have been able to analyze (their) voice to have conclusive evidence of this trait.”
Green and her teams’ research found that the cows use vocalization to allow them to express excitement, engagement, arousal, distress, and to maintain contact with their herd.
While discussing her study of the cows Alexandra Green said:
“They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice.”
Green used the bovine calls she recorded to “assess how aroused or excited the animal is in a certain situation”.
“It all relates back to their emotions and what they are feeling at the time,” she said.
In previous studies, researchers discovered that mothers and their calves communicated through individuality expressed through their vocalized mooing.
This new study reveals that cows keep their individual moo vocalization their entire lives not just when they are calves. It’s a new discovery that they continue to vocalize as individuals even after becoming adults.
The cows in the research would speak to each other while waiting on or being denied food when kept separate from the group, and during their sexually active period.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports the University of Sydney study analyzed and recorded 333 different samples of bovine vocalizations.
“Ali’s research is truly inspired. It is like she is building a Google translate for cows,” said Cameron Clark, an associate professor at the university.
Lead researcher Alexandra Green said she hoped this research would help farmers “tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare”.
A study in 2018 discovered that animals speak with each other in a way very similar to that of humans. They take turns allowing each other to speak during their conversations which previous to this research was something considered to be unique that distinguishes human language from the way animals communicate with each other.
But this study has shown that those characteristics exist throughout out most if not all species with this latest study centered around cows further reinforcing the previous findings.