Age and social affinity effects on contact call interactions in free-ranging spider monkeys

Abstract : Nonhuman primates’ vocal repertoire has shown little plasticity, with immatures producing adult-like acoustic structures. Yet, the use of different call types shows a degree of socially dependent flexibility during development. In several nonhuman primate species, group members exchange contact calls respecting a set of social and temporal rules that may be learned (e.g., overlap avoidance, turn-taking, social selection of interacting partners, and call type matching). Here, we study the use of contact calls in free-living adult and immature (old and young) spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). We focused our study in two contact call types of the species’ repertoire: whinnies and high-whinnies. Our results suggest that individuals in all age classes produced both call types, with immatures producing less frequently the whinny call type. Immature individuals exchanged calls less often than adults, although their contribution increased with age. Conversely, mature individuals regulated their emissions by (1) exchanging more calls with their preferred affiliative partner and (2) matching the call type, while immatures did not. Our results show that contact call usage changes during development and suggest that adult rules might be learned. We argue that call matching is a “conversational rule” that young individuals acquire with apparent call-type-dependent variations during development. Our findings support the idea that social factors influence vocal development in nonhuman primates.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 9:22:49 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:41:37 PM

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Margarita Briseño Jaramillo, Gabriel Ramos-Fernandez, T. M. Palacios-Romo, José Roberto Sosa Lopez, Alban Lemasson. Age and social affinity effects on contact call interactions in free-ranging spider monkeys. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Springer Verlag, 2018, 72 (12), ⟨10.1007/s00265-018-2615-2⟩. ⟨hal-01953508⟩

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