What Animal Has No Vocal Cords?

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

The ability to speak and communicate using words is unique to humans. However, it is not the only way that animals can communicate. Many other animals do not have vocal cords, which are long, skinny bands of muscle tissue that vibrate to make sound.

Some sea creatures, such as jellyfish and sea anemones, do not have vocal cords either. They use chemicals called pheromones to communicate with other members of their species. Jellyfish also do not have a brain and therefore cannot produce sounds.

Other animals do not have vocal cords, such as rabbits and giraffes. While they can’t yell like a human, these animals can make noises from their mouths through mechanical sounds such as grinding their teeth or chewing food. They can also communicate through body language and scent marking.

Whales, the largest mammal on earth, do not have vocal cords either. Instead, they produce sounds by exhaling air through their blowholes. Giraffes also do not have vocal cords, but they are able to produce sounds through their necks using a series of unique air-filled chambers known as ossicones.

While it is commonly believed that apes and monkeys lack vocal membranes, the syrinx (voice box) of these species actually has twin infoldings of 3 distinct tissues. These structures act like a reed in a clarinet, making it easier for some apes and monkeys to make loud calls. Scientists have used MRI and CT scans to compare the anatomy of the larynx (the voice box) in 43 species of apes and monkeys.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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