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Relation between the level of acoustic variability and the call social function in red-capped mangabeys

Abstract : Despite a strong influence of genetic factors on the structuring of nonhuman primate vocal repertoires, the last decade evidenced to some extent abilities in vocal plasticity. Snowdon et al. (1997) suggested a relation between the level of acoustic variability and the call function. The highest variability is expected in calls with an affiliative social value. But this hypothesis has rarely been tested. Here, we conducted a quantitative analysis of acoustic structures’ variability and associated contexts of emission by studying the, still unknown, vocal repertoire of red-capped mangabeys (Cercocebus torquatus torquatus). Seven adult males and seven adult females were studied in captivity. We found 13 structurally-different sound units (4 peculiar to females, 3 to males and 6 shared). These units were combined to form 12 call types (including 6 sex-specific) that were also contextually differentiable. Interestingly, females, who are more socially integrated than males, produced a higher number of call types and unclassifiable graded acoustic structures. The highest level of inter- and intra-individual acoustic variability was found in the intra-group socially affiliative grunts and the lowest in non-affiliative calls like Wahoo alarm calls and inter-group Whoop-gobble loud calls. An intermediate pattern of variability was found in food calls for instance. Thus, our data support Snowdon et al.’s hypothesis.
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Submitted on : Friday, August 19, 2016 - 2:39:54 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01354780, version 1


Hélène Bouchet, Anne-Sophie Pellier, Catherine Blois-Heulin, Alban Lemasson. Relation between the level of acoustic variability and the call social function in red-capped mangabeys. Behavior 2009 - 31st International Ethological Conference, International Ethological Conference (IEC) and University of Rennes 1, Aug 2009, Rennes, France. ⟨hal-01354780⟩



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