A new study shows that cows communicate using unique voices, which remain consistent across a range of emotional circumstances.
Alexandra Green, a PhD student at the University of Sydney’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, headed to a free-range farm on the university’s campus, equipped with headphones and a shotgun mic.
In total, Green and her colleagues recorded 333 high-frequency vocalisations from 13 heifers, none of which had been pregnant.
The calls were collected during a number of different situations, like when the cows were in heat and when they were anticipating a tasty meal, which the researchers identified as “positive” contexts.
Calls were also collected when the animals were denied food: physically isolated from the herd, and when they were both physically and visually isolated from the rest of the herd, which researchers identified as “negative” contexts.