Over the years, researchers who study elephants have noticed an intriguing phenomenon. Sometimes when an elephant makes a vocalization to a group of other elephants, all of them respond. But sometimes when that same elephant makes a similar call to the group, only a single individual responds.

Could it be that elephants address each other by the equivalent of a name? A new study involving wild African savannah elephants in Kenya lends support to this idea.

The researchers analyzed vocalizations — mostly rumbles generated by elephants using their vocal cords, similar to how people speak — made by more than 100 elephants in Amboseli National Park and Samburu National Reserve.