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The acoustic structure of chimpanzee pant-hooting facilitates chorusing

Fedurek P, Schel AM & Slocombe KE (2013) The acoustic structure of chimpanzee pant-hooting facilitates chorusing. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67 (11), pp. 1781-1789.

Duetting or chorusing behaviour occurs in a wide variety of animals and is posited to fulfil various important functions including territory defence and social bonding. The structure of calls produced in choruses might be shaped in a way that facilitates such joint vocal displays. In this study, we test the hypothesis that flexibility to modify the temporal structure of chimpanzee pant-hoots, vocalisations often given jointly with other individuals, facilitates chorusing. The results of this study, which was conducted on two communities of wild chimpanzees in Uganda, support this hypothesis. First, the duration of the build-up phase of the pant-hoot correlated with the latency with which the partner joined in the call, suggesting that males prolong the duration of the build-up to allow others to join in the call and to increase the likelihood of a chorus occurring. Second, the loud climax phases were significantly longer when produced in choruses than alone, which suggests that males prolong this part of the call when calling in choruses. Within chorus pant-hoots, there was a positive relationship between the number of climax elements given by two calling partners, suggesting that males adjust the temporal structure of their call to mirror their partner's call. We conclude that the basic acoustic structure of chimpanzee pant-hoots and the flexibility with which males adjust the duration of the constituent phases promote chorusing, and that the temporal structure of this rather stereotyped vocalisation is sensitive to fine details of the vocal responses of the audience.

Chimpanzees; Pant-hoot chorusing; Acoustic structure; Vocal plasticity

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology: Volume 67, Issue 11

Author(s)Fedurek, Pawel; Schel, Anne M; Slocombe, Katie E
FundersBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and The Leakey Foundation
Publication date01/11/2013
Publication date online09/07/2013
Date accepted by journal25/06/2013
PublisherSpringer Nature
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