Vervet monkeys greet adult males during high-risk situations
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Many animal species produce ritualized signals during dyadic encounters but the functions of such ‘greeting’ behaviour vary considerably, or are often unknown. One established function is to acknowledge existing dominance relationships. At the same time, call rates often increase during social tension, suggesting additional functions, such as to appease higher-ranking individuals, or to maintain spatial proximity and friendly relations. For vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus pygerythrus, vocal behaviour has been studied extensively, but little research has been devoted to calls given during encounters between two individuals, i.e. grunts. Here, we examined how individual and relationship features affected the vocal greeting behaviour of wild vervet monkeys in different ecological and social situations. We used an information theory approach to investigate the functional hypotheses of vervet monkeys' vocal greeting signals. We found little support for the main functions proposed in the literature, that is, to signal submission, to avoid conflicts, to test social bonds or to coordinate group activity. Results supported the use of grunts to signal benign intent, and we found that grunts were mostly given to closely bonded males near rivers, suggesting that vervet monkeys use vocal greeting signals to recruit individuals in situations of danger to reduce predation risk.
Mercier , S , Neumann , C , van de Waal , E , Chollet , E , de Bellefon , J M & Zuberbuhler , K 2017 , ' Vervet monkeys greet adult males during high-risk situations ' , Animal Behaviour , vol. 132 , pp. 229-245 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.07.021
© 2017 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.07.021
DescriptionE.W. was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (P300P3_151187) and Society in Science-Branco Weiss Fellowship. This work was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC grant agreement no. 283871 and the Swiss National Science Foundation (Project 310030_143359).
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