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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The Ontogeny of Vocal Sequences: Insights from a Newborn Wild Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii)
Author(s): Soldati, Adrian
Muhumuza, Geresomu
Dezecache, Guillaume
Fedurek, Pawel
Taylor, Derry
Call, Josep
Zuberbühler, Klaus
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Keywords: Birth
Call combinations
Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii
Vocal behaviour
Issue Date: 16-Aug-2022
Date Deposited: 16-Aug-2022
Citation: Soldati A, Muhumuza G, Dezecache G, Fedurek P, Taylor D, Call J & Zuberbühler K (2022) The Ontogeny of Vocal Sequences: Insights from a Newborn Wild Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). International Journal of Primatology.
Abstract: Observations of early vocal behaviours in non-human primates (hereafter primates) are important for direct comparisons between human and primate vocal development. However, direct observations of births and perinatal behaviour in wild primates are rare, and the initial stages of behavioural ontogeny usually remain undocumented. Here, we report direct observations of the birth of a wild chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Budongo Forest, Uganda, including the behaviour of the mother and other group members. We monitored the newborn’s vocal behaviour for approximately 2 hours and recorded 70 calls. We categorised the vocalisations both qualitatively, using conventional call descriptions, and quantitatively, using cluster and discriminant acoustic analyses. We found evidence for acoustically distinct vocal units, produced both in isolation and in combination, including sequences akin to adult pant hoots, a vocal utterance regarded as the most complex vocal signal produced by this species. We concluded that chimpanzees possess the capacity to produce vocal sequences composed of different call types from birth, albeit in rudimentary forms. Our observations are in line with the idea that primate vocal repertoires are largely present from birth, with fine acoustic structures undergoing ontogenetic processes. Our study provides rare and valuable empirical data on perinatal behaviours in wild primates.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10764-022-00321-y
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
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