Population-specific call order in chimpanzee greeting vocal sequences
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Primates rarely learn new vocalisations, but they can learn to use their vocalizations in different contexts. Such ‘vocal usage learning’, particularly in vocal sequences, is a hallmark of human language, but remains understudied in non-human primates. We assess usage learning in four wild chimpanzee communities of Taï and Budongo Forests by investigating population differences in call ordering of a greeting vocal sequence. Whilst in all groups, these sequences consisted of pant-hoots (long-distance contact call) and pant-grunts (short-distance submissive call), the order of the two calls differed across populations. Taï chimpanzees consistently commenced greetings with pant-hoots whereas Budongo chimpanzees started with pant-grunts. We discuss different hypotheses to explain this pattern and conclude that higher intra-group aggression in Budongo may have led to a local pattern of individuals signalling submission first. This highlights how within-species variation in social dynamics may lead to flexibility in call order production, possibly acquired via usage learning.
Girard-Buttoz , C , Bortolato , T , Laporte , M , Grampp , M , Zuberbühler , K , Wittig , R M & Crockford , C 2022 , ' Population-specific call order in chimpanzee greeting vocal sequences ' , iScience , vol. 25 , no. 9 , 104851 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2022.104851
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
DescriptionThis study was funded by the Max Planck Society and the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program awarded to C.C. (grant agreement no. 679787) and ERC (Prilang GA283871) and by Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award. Core funding for the Taï Chimpanzee Project has been provided by the Max Planck Society since 1997 and for Budongo Conservation Field station by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
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