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dc.contributor.authorClarke, Esther
dc.contributor.authorReichard, Ulrich H.
dc.contributor.authorZuberbuehler, Klaus
dc.identifier.citationClarke , E , Reichard , U H & Zuberbuehler , K 2006 , ' The syntax and meaning of wild gibbon songs ' , PLoS One , vol. 1 , no. 1 , e73 , pp. - .
dc.identifier.otherstandrews_research_output: 15739
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-8378-088X/work/64360693
dc.description.abstractSpoken language is a result of the human capacity to assemble simple vocal units into more complex utterances, the basic carriers of semantic information. Not much is known about the evolutionary origins of this behaviour. The vocal abilities of non-human primates are relatively unimpressive in comparison, with gibbon songs being a rare exception. These apes assemble a repertoire of call notes into elaborate songs, which function to repel conspecific intruders, advertise pair bonds, and attract mates. We conducted a series of field experiments with white-handed gibbons at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, which showed that this ape species uses songs also to protect themselves against predation. We compared the acoustic structure of predatory-induced songs with regular songs that were given as part of their daily routine. Predator-induced songs were identical to normal songs in the call note repertoire, but we found consistent differences in how the notes were assembled into songs. The responses of out-of-sight receivers demonstrated that these syntactic differences were meaningful to conspecifics. Our study provides the first evidence of referential signalling in a free-ranging ape species, based on a communication system that utilises combinatorial rules.
dc.relation.ispartofPLoS Oneen
dc.subjectQL Zoologyen
dc.subjectGN Anthropologyen
dc.titleThe syntax and meaning of wild gibbon songsen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Psychology and Neuroscienceen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciencesen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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