Skin temperature changes in wild chimpanzees upon hearing vocalizations of conspecifics
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A growing trend of research using infra-red thermography (IRT) has shown that changes in skin temperature, associated with activity of the autonomic nervous system, can be reliably detected in human and non-human animals. A contact-free method, IRT provides the opportunity to uncover emotional states in free-ranging animals during social interactions. Here, we measured nose and ear temperatures of wild chimpanzees of Budongo Forest, Uganda, when exposed to naturally occurring vocalizations of conspecifics. We found a significant temperature decrease over the nose after exposure to conspecifics’ vocalizations, whereas we found a corresponding increase for ear temperature. Our study suggests that IRT can be used in wild animals to quantify changes in emotional states in response to the diversity of vocalizations, their functional significance and acoustical characteristics. We hope that it will contribute to more research on physiological changes associated with social interactions in wild animals.
Dezecache , G , Zuberbuhler , K , Davila-Ross , M & Dahl , C D 2017 , ' Skin temperature changes in wild chimpanzees upon hearing vocalizations of conspecifics ' Royal Society Open Science , vol 4 , 160816 . DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160816
Royal Society Open Science
© 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
The authors are grateful to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland for providing core funding to the Budongo Conservation Field Station. The research was supported by a Fyssen fellowship awarded to GD, funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (grant agreement no 283871), and the Swiss National Science Foundation (PZ00P3_154741) awarded to CDD.
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