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Algorithm discovers that every lion has a unique and trackable roar

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Scientists from Oxford University have used a machine learning algorithm to discover every lion has its own identifiable and trackable roar.

Previous research has shown that lions roar to communicate with other members of their pride and scare off foes. But we still know little about how they recognize which animal has made the call.

The Oxford scientists tried to find out by designing a device called a “biologger” that’s attached to a lion’s existing GPS collar to record audio and movement data. They then associated each call with a lion by cross-referencing the data through their recordings of roars.

[Read: This AI system thinks we’re getting better at wildlife conservation]

Next, the team used the data collected by the biologgers to train a pattern recognition algorithm to recognize each lion’s roar. Finally, they tested the algorithm on recordings it had not been fed before.

They found that each lion’s roar produces a distinctive frequency shape. The algorithm used these to match a roar to an individual lion with 91.5% accuracy.

Credit: WildCRU