Elephants are striking, beautiful and social animals. They’re also pretty good at selecting the most appropriate communication method to match their desired outcome.

Watch a family herd and you’ll witness a whole host of activities and communications between different members of the group. Other-worldly ultrasonic stomach rumbles keep in touch with animals several kilometres away; circus-like trumpet sounds, porcine squeals and high-pitched squeaks signal danger. And different head, neck, ear or trunk positions send out a range of other messages.

The posture shown here is known as ‘standing tall’. It’s a dominance display to show how impressive the elephant is, and to ward off unwanted competitors. It’s a symbol of simple, effective and elegant communication – something for us all to aspire to…