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Contextual encoding in titi monkey alarm call sequences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Mélissa Berthet, Christof Neumann, Geoffrey Mesbahi, Cristiane Cäsar Damas, Klaus Zuberbuhler

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Many primates produce one type of alarm call to a broad range of events, usually terrestrial predators and non-predatory situations, which raises questions about whether primate alarm calls should be considered “functionally referential”. A recent example is black-fronted titi monkeys, Callicebus nigrifrons, which emit sequences of B-calls to terrestrial predators or when moving towards or near the ground. In this study, we reassess the context-specificity of these utterances, focussing both on their acoustic and sequential structure. We found that B-calls could be differentiated into context-specific acoustic variants (terrestrial predators vs. ground-related movements) and that call sequences to predators had a more regular sequential structure than ground-related sequences. Overall, these findings suggest that the acoustic and temporal structure of titi monkey call sequences discriminate between predator and non-predatory events, fulfilling the production criterion of functional reference.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume72
Early online date21 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

    Research areas

  • Callicebus nigrifrons, Titi monkey, Alarm call, Sequence, Acoustic variant, Context specificity

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