Silent Giraffes?

In Why do we have sinuses? an old piece of nonsense is repeated: “Unfortunately […] giraffes, which have quite large sinuses, are silent.”
“Usually silent” would be correct; although admittedly it would ruin the point being made. See for example Giraffa camelopardalis.

Sad to see Cece propagating this myth,

I seem to recall this being a recent discovery.

Oldest dated cite I’ve been able to find so far is 1991. The column doesn’t show a publication date, which usually means it’s pretty old … Then again, what’s the point of being the world’s smartest human being if you have to wait for other people to discover things to give correct answers? :smiley:

In fairness to Uncle Cec, the question wasn’t about whether giraffes make sounds, so it was a bit of a toss-off comment. That said, one paper I ran across was researching the production of infrasound by giraffes. Very low-frequency sound can carry over extremely long distances even with low volume & energy requirements, though it can’t carry a lot of information. It was first discovered in use by elephants, and other animals (including giraffes) are now known to produce it. According to that paper, the mechanism by which these sounds are made isn’t yet understood … and the sinuses are one of the organs that have been suggested as potential sources for infrasound production. Could be-clearly vestigial in humans, as we neither produce nor are able to detect infrasound (not without a microphone and an oscilloscope, anyway). But maybe our distant ancestors called to each other over distances of miles with these deep rumblings. When they were out of their cellphone coverage areas, of course.

Does this explain why a giraffe’s quack doesn’t echo?

A) Not sure that it explains it - but I’m 99.9% sure that you’re right in saying that a giraffe’s quack doesn’t echo. They do, however, ‘bark’. Something that I’ve been assured they do if you ever frighten a pack/herd (anyone know the correct collective?) of them - e.g. try and grab one for your zoo.
B) I have found that locating early references to this is tricky: my reference is now sadly lost; it was an early 20th century book about a safari that I read in my youth. It stuck in my mind and until the advent of the internet my intermitent searches for verification hit a brick wall.
C) Whoever said ‘only recently discovered’ must be a joking. Unless these majestic creatures have been playing games with us and stayed shtum until 10-20 years back then everyone who has ever dealt with these creatures on a daily basis (or hunted them etc) must have been sworn to some sort of secrecy about their vocal abilities!

Quiet and reticent, yes. Discovered recently? Think about it.

D) Yes, I’m sure Cec does like his throw-away lines - but I’m sure he doesn’t want to perpetuate “dis-information” when he does so. Perhaps he gives the TM too much credit when he juxtaposes a ridiculous ‘factoid’ with a thought-provoking analogy?