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New Research Shows Horses Express Emotion Through Sound
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12 Jul 2018 12:30 PM EST

We already know that horses communicate a great deal of information through their ears and eyes. Research shows they convey positive and negative emotions through complex vocalizations. A new study shows snort sounds mean horses are more than likely feeling very happy and peaceful. The Ethology and Animal Welfare Unit at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Agricultural Science discovered... a "whinny" contains two independent frequencies that give different emotional information. "One frequency indicates whether the emotion is positive or negative, while the other frequency reveals the strength of the emotion. Such vocalizations with two fundamental frequencies are rare among mammals, in contrast, for example, to songbirds." Project leader Elodie Briefer By looking at factors like respiratory rates, physical movements, and the frequencies of the horses’ whinnies, researchers were able to see the intensity of the emotion a horse was feeling at that time. The study is a part of a larger project looking into the effect of domestication, reports Scientists want to know how domestic animals versus their wild relatives express emotions.


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