32
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
0 collections
    0
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: not found

      The Syntax and Meaning of Wild Gibbon Songs

      research-article
      1 , 2 , 3 , 1 , *
      PLoS ONE
      Public Library of Science

      Read this article at

      ScienceOpenPublisherPMC
      Bookmark
          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Spoken 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.

          Related collections

          Most cited references51

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: not found
          • Book: not found

          Wild Cats of the World

            Bookmark
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: not found
            • Article: not found

            On the Ultimate Causes of Primate Social Systems

              Bookmark
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Language evolution: semantic combinations in primate calls.

              Syntax sets human language apart from other natural communication systems, although its evolutionary origins are obscure. Here we show that free-ranging putty-nosed monkeys combine two vocalizations into different call sequences that are linked to specific external events, such as the presence of a predator and the imminent movement of the group. Our findings indicate that non-human primates can combine calls into higher-order sequences that have a particular meaning.
                Bookmark

                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2006
                20 December 2006
                : 1
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland
                [2 ]Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
                [3 ]Department of Anthropology, Southern-Illinois University, Carbondale, United States of America
                University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
                Author notes
                * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kz3@ 123456st-and.ac.uk

                Conceived and designed the experiments: KZ. Performed the experiments: EC. Analyzed the data: EC. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: KZ UR. Wrote the paper: KZ EC. Other: Director of gibbon field site at Khao Yai, provided access to study site, habituated animals, provided permits and invaluable background information on the gibbons: UR.

                Article
                06-PONE-RA-00190
                10.1371/journal.pone.0000073
                1762393
                17183705
                b5ae3bcd-ace1-4500-9774-1d94e1bd6083
                Clarke et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 10
                Categories
                Research Article
                Evolutionary Biology/Animal Behavior
                Evolutionary Biology/Human Evolution

                Uncategorized
                Uncategorized

                Comments

                Comment on this article