Muuu: Is it true that cows moo with different accents?
What would a moo from a Russian cow look like? And one from the Middle East? Could they have different accents in their mu? The idea may sound fun and absurd too, but could it be true?
Well, although the assumptions have been made by many people, the answer is also uncertain: maybe or even no one knows, but most likely not. The fact is, in 2006, sites like the BBC and NPR, both from the UK, shared a story of some farmers - dairy farmers - who said they noticed differences in their cow's mooing, depending on which regions they came from.
At the time, the reports were also supported by John Wells, professor of phonetics at College London University. But according to Wells, most of the support he apparently provided for in these stories was really a "selective and distorted version of what I had said."
To clarify what he had actually said in the interviews, he explained his version on a University of Pennsylvania blog just as farmers' stories started popping up on the Internet. According to him, many of his quotes were actually inventions of a public relations firm.
"They had been hired by a cheese maker, West Country Farmhouse, to publicize their regional varieties of the cheese. So they called me to ask if there was any possibility that cow mooing could vary geographically, " Wells explained.
According to the professor, he replied that he thought it was very unlikely, but scientific evidence had been well established that several bird species had regional variability in their corners. So we couldn't totally rule out the possibility.
Wells' statements that said it was unlikely, but could not entirely rule out the possibility, were turned into a "yes" in many news stories of the farmers, and things only got out of hand from that. Some even claimed that Wells and other researchers confirmed the farmers' observations with a study of cow vocalizations, which never happened.
Although there is scientific work on mooing as an indicator of a cow's "physiological and psychological functioning" and reproductive status, there appears to be no published research on geographic variations of cow accents.