While most are familiar with the elephant's trumpeting call the animals also emit growls, according to researchers at San Diego Zoo.
However, two-thirds of the partly audible call is at frequencies that are too low to be picked up by human ears.
To learn more about the inaudible part of the growl, the team attached a microphone sensitive to these low frequencies and a GPS tracking system to eight of the zoo's female elephants.
The researchers could then correlate the noises the animals were making with what they were doing.
Matt Anderson, who led the project, said: "We're excited to learn of the hierarchy within the female herd and how they interact and intercede with one another."
The team has already learned that pregnant females use this low frequency communication to announce to the rest of their herd when they go into labour. ...