Do chimpanzee food calls bias listeners toward novel items?
MetadataShow full item record
Social learning is beneficial in almost every domain of a social animal's life, but it is particularly important in the context of predation and foraging. In both contexts, social animals tend to produce acoustically distinct vocalizations, alarms, and food calls, which have remained somewhat of an evolutionary conundrum as they appear to be costly for the signaller. Here, we investigated the hypothesis that food calls function to direct others toward novel food items, using a playback experiment on a group of chimpanzees. We showed chimpanzees novel (plausibly edible) items while simultaneously playing either conspecific food calls or acoustically similar greeting calls as a control. We found that individuals responded by staying longer near items previously associated with food calls even in the absence of these vocalizations, and peered more at these items compared with the control items, provided no conspecifics were nearby. We also found that once chimpanzees had access to both item types, they interacted more with the one previously associated with food calls than the control items. However, we found no evidence of social learning per se. Given these effects, we propose that food calls may gate and thus facilitate social learning by directing listeners' attention to new feeding opportunities, which if integrated with additional cues could ultimately lead to new food preferences within social groups.
Déaux , E C , Bonneaud , C , Baumeyer , A & Zuberbühler , K 2023 , ' Do chimpanzee food calls bias listeners toward novel items? ' , American Journal of Primatology , vol. 85 , no. 7 , e23498 . https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23498
American Journal of Primatology
Copyright © 2023 The Authors. American Journal of Primatology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
DescriptionFunding: The study was funded by the National Swiss Foundation grant number: SNF 31003A_166458 and the NCCR Evolving Language, Swiss National Science Foundation Agreement #51NF40_180888.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.