Katharine Payne

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Katharine Boynton 'Katy' Payne (born 1937) is a researcher in the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University. In 1999, she founded the lab's Elephant Listening Project.

Career[edit]

Initially a researcher of whales with her then husband Roger Payne, Payne turned to investigating elephants after observing them at a the Oregon Zoo in Portland. In 1984, she and other researchers discovered that elephants make infrasonic calls to one another at distances as far as ten kilometers. The calls aided in travel and mating. Payne founded the ELP to use these calls as a means of measuring the behavior of elephants and the size of the elephant population. Payne was featured in the 1984 PBS series, The Voyage of the Mimi, starring a young Ben Affleck.

In 2004, Payne's initial recordings of elephants were selected as one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

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