Do Hairy-nosed Wombats talk to each other? The University of Queensland in collaboration with the University of Vienna and Australian Animals Care  and Education, have recently commenced a project to determine the importance of vocal communication  in wombats. The project, which is supported by the Wombat Foundation, aims to investigate the behavioural ecology of the Southern    Hairy-nosed  wombat with the ultimate aim of relating these findings to the highly endangered Northern Hairy- nosed Wombat.  The general objective of the project is to determine the biological information encoded by specific acoustic components of wombat  vocalizations, and then use systematic playback experiments to investigate the functional roles of these acoustic cues in different social  and reproductive contexts. Although we are in the early stages of the research, the results of the study appear to suggest that wombats have a characteristic vocal  pattern that represents a signature for the individual animal, in much the same way that a human voice is distinctive. We have included a  short wav file vocal recording of one of our female wombats know as Bella which was taken when she was protesting about being  approached to be recorded.  Parallel to these vocal observations has been an assessment of the vocal anatomy of the male and female using CAT scan technology at  the University of Queensland Veterinary School, UQ Gatton. This amazing instrument takes multiple cross-section radiographs of the  whole body of the wombat that can then be reassembled to produce a three dimensional image. You can see an image of our female  wombat called Lolly, in which the CAT scan has revealed the skin, respiratory system, some of the digestive tract and the underlying  skeleton
wombats  and catscans :) A neat way to look inside a wombat without harming it
In the more conventionl 2d CAT scan image below, you can see a section through vocal cord anatomy of a male wombat know as KIAL
As part of current project we are trying to link the vocalisations of the wombats to their specific vocal cord anatomy. Our initial investigations to date  have revealed a difference in anatomy between male and female wombats, which we believe potentially reflects a difference in their respective vocal  repertoires. Over the next 3 months we will be gathering more vocal recordings of the wombats at the Australian Animals Care and Education facility at  Marlborough in order to determine the specific context of the sounds produced by male and female wombats.  Using high quality speakers, we will play these sounds back to the wombat in attempt to determine their communicative value
Stephen Johnston BSc (Zool) Hons PhD Chief Investigator Reproductive Zoologist Wildlife Biology Unit Faculty of Science The University of Queensland
Science
Do Hairy-nosed Wombats talk to each other? The University of Queensland in collaboration with the University of Vienna and Australian Animals Care  and Education, have recently commenced a project to determine the importance of vocal communication  in wombats. The project, which is supported by the Wombat Foundation, aims to investigate the behavioural ecology of the Southern    Hairy-nosed  wombat with the ultimate aim of relating these findings to the highly endangered Northern Hairy- nosed Wombat.  The general objective of the project is to determine the biological information encoded by specific acoustic components of wombat  vocalizations, and then use systematic playback experiments to investigate the functional roles of these acoustic cues in different social  and reproductive contexts. Although we are in the early stages of the research, the results of the study appear to suggest that wombats have a characteristic vocal  pattern that represents a signature for the individual animal, in much the same way that a human voice is distinctive. We have included a  short wav file vocal recording of one of our female wombats know as Bella which was taken when she was protesting about being  approached to be recorded.  Parallel to these vocal observations has been an assessment of the vocal anatomy of the male and female using CAT scan technology at  the University of Queensland Veterinary School, UQ Gatton. This amazing instrument takes multiple cross-section radiographs of the  whole body of the wombat that can then be reassembled to produce a three dimensional image. You can see an image of our female  wombat called Lolly, in which the CAT scan has revealed the skin, respiratory system, some of the digestive tract and the underlying  skeleton
wombats  and catscans :) A neat way to look inside a wombat without harming it
In the more conventionl 2d CAT scan image below, you can see a section through vocal cord anatomy of a male wombat know as KIAL
As part of current project we are trying to link the vocalisations of the wombats to their specific vocal cord anatomy. Our initial investigations to date  have revealed a difference in anatomy between male and female wombats, which we believe potentially reflects a difference in their respective vocal  repertoires. Over the next 3 months we will be gathering more vocal recordings of the wombats at the Australian Animals Care and Education facility at  Marlborough in order to determine the specific context of the sounds produced by male and female wombats.  Using high quality speakers, we will play these sounds back to the wombat in attempt to determine their communicative value
Stephen Johnston BSc (Zool) Hons PhD Chief Investigator Reproductive Zoologist Wildlife Biology Unit Faculty of Science The University of Queensland
Science
Do Hairy-nosed Wombats talk to each other? The University of Queensland in collaboration with the University of Vienna and Australian Animals Care  and Education, have recently commenced a project to determine the importance of vocal communication  in wombats. The project, which is supported by the Wombat Foundation, aims to investigate the behavioural ecology of the Southern    Hairy-nosed  wombat with the ultimate aim of relating these findings to the highly endangered Northern Hairy- nosed Wombat.  The general objective of the project is to determine the biological information encoded by specific acoustic components of wombat  vocalizations, and then use systematic playback experiments to investigate the functional roles of these acoustic cues in different social  and reproductive contexts. Although we are in the early stages of the research, the results of the study appear to suggest that wombats have a characteristic vocal  pattern that represents a signature for the individual animal, in much the same way that a human voice is distinctive. We have included a  short wav file vocal recording of one of our female wombats know as Bella which was taken when she was protesting about being  approached to be recorded.  Parallel to these vocal observations has been an assessment of the vocal anatomy of the male and female using CAT scan technology at  the University of Queensland Veterinary School, UQ Gatton. This amazing instrument takes multiple cross-section radiographs of the  whole body of the wombat that can then be reassembled to produce a three dimensional image. You can see an image of our female  wombat called Lolly, in which the CAT scan has revealed the skin, respiratory system, some of the digestive tract and the underlying  skeleton
wombats  and catscans :) A neat way to look inside a wombat without harming it
In the more conventionl 2d CAT scan image below, you can see a section through vocal cord anatomy of a male wombat know as KIAL
As part of current project we are trying to link the vocalisations of the wombats to their specific vocal cord anatomy. Our initial investigations to date  have revealed a difference in anatomy between male and female wombats, which we believe potentially reflects a difference in their respective vocal  repertoires. Over the next 3 months we will be gathering more vocal recordings of the wombats at the Australian Animals Care and Education facility at  Marlborough in order to determine the specific context of the sounds produced by male and female wombats.  Using high quality speakers, we will play these sounds back to the wombat in attempt to determine their communicative value
Stephen Johnston BSc (Zool) Hons PhD Chief Investigator Reproductive Zoologist Wildlife Biology Unit Faculty of Science The University of Queensland
Science