Trade-offs in the production of animal vocal sequences : insights from the structure of wild chimpanzee pant hoots
MetadataShow full item record
Background Vocal sequences - utterances consisting of calls produced in close succession - are common phenomena in animal communication. While many studies have explored the adaptive benefits of producing such sequences, very little is known about how the costs and constraints involved in their production affect their form. Here, we investigated this issue in the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) pant hoot, a long and structurally complex vocal sequence comprising four acoustically distinct phases – introduction, build-up, climax and let-down. Results We found that in each of these phases, and for the sequence as a whole, there was a negative relationship between the number of calls produced and their average duration. There was also a negative relationship between the total duration of some adjacent phases. Significant relationships between the fundamental frequency of calls and their number or duration were found for some phases of the sequence, but the direction of these relationships differed between particular phases. Conclusions These results indicate that there are trade-offs in terms of signal duration at two levels in pant-hoot production: between call number and duration, and between the relative durations of successive phases. These trade-offs are likely to reflect biomechanical constraints on vocal sequence production. Phase-specific trade-offs also appear to occur between fundamental frequency and call number or duration, potentially reflecting that different phases of the sequence are associated with distinct types of information, linked in different ways to call pitch. Overall, this study highlights the important role of costs and constraints in shaping the temporal and acoustic structure of animal vocal sequences.
Fedurek , P , Zuberbuhler , K & Semple , S 2017 , ' Trade-offs in the production of animal vocal sequences : insights from the structure of wild chimpanzee pant hoots ' Frontiers in Zoology , vol 14 , no. 50 . DOI: 10.1186/s12983-017-0235-8
Frontiers in Zoology
© The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
The study was funded by Swiss National Science Foundation (310030_143359) and European Research Council project grants awarded to KZ (PRILANG 283871).
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.