Katy Payne

Katy Payne is a researcher in the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University.

Katy began her career studying the evolving songs of the humpback whale. She shifted her focus to elephants in 1984, when she and two colleagues discovered infrasonic calling in elephants by recording at a zoo.

The studies that followed from this discovery have shown that elephants use their low-frequency calls to coordinate their social behavior over long distances. She founded The Elephant Listening Project (ELP) in 1999, and was the leader of the project until 2006, when she officially retired. Katy is now writing a book about forest elephants, and continues to play a critical role in all ELP’s activities.

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. She is the author of Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants.

Living In Alien Worlds
April 2012