Proximate factors mediating ‘contact’ calls in adult female baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) and their infants. J Comp Psychol

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, USA.
Journal of Comparative Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.31). 04/2000; 114(1):36-46. DOI: 10.1037/0735-7036.114.1.36
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT "Contact" calls are widespread in social mammals and birds, but the proximate factors that motivate call production and mediate their contact function remain poorly specified. Field study of chacma baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) revealed that contact barks in adult females were motivated by separation both from the group at large and from their dependent infants. A variety of social and ecological factors affect the probability of separation from either one or both. Results of simultaneous observations and a playback experiment indicate that the contact function of calling between mothers and infants was mediated by occasional maternal retrieval rather than coordinated call exchange. Mothers recognized the contact barks of their own infants and often were strongly motivated to locate them. However, mothers did not produce contact barks in reply unless they themselves were at risk of becoming separated from the group.

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Available from: Dorothy L. Cheney, Oct 30, 2014
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    • "In addition, selective pressure to understand the signals in these social networks may have contributed to selection for increased cognitive abilities in primates (Altenmüller et al. 2013; Barrett et al. 2003; de Waal and Tyack 2003; Dunbar 1998, 2003a, b; Dunbar and Shultz 2007; Pollard and Blumstein 2011, 2012). Previous studies have shown that the recognition of individuals by voice is common in nonprimate mammals: elephants (McComb et al. 2000), hyenas (Holekamp et al. 1999), pinnepeds (Insley 2001; Insley et al. 2003), bats (Balcombe 1990; Balcombe and McCracken 1992; Kastein et al. 2013; Knoernschild and Von Helversen 2008), rodents (Pollard and Blumstein 2011), and in haplorrhine primates: rhesus monkeys (Rendall et al. 1996), baboons (Cheney and Seyfarth 1999; Rendall et al. 2000), vervets (Cheney and Seyfarth 1980), marmosets (Snowdon and Cleveland 1980), and squirrel monkeys (Symmes and Biben 1985). In contrast, very little is known about vocal recognition in strepsirrhine primates, e.g., maternal recognition of infants in ring-tailed lemurs (Nunn 2000) and recognition of fathers by daughters in mouse lemurs (Kessler et al. 2012). "
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    • "If they locate the general whereabouts of the entire group, they may change behaviour in relation to their own spatial position, for example, central– peripheral zone of the group (Robinson 1981; Janson 1990). Further examination of behavioural changes in relation to relative position of the group is necessary , such as monitoring behaviour of group members (Kazahari & Agetsuma 2010; Suzuki & Sugiura 2011) and contact calls (Boinski & Campbell 1995; Rendall et al. 2000; this study). "
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    • "Marler et al. 1992). However, while there is debate about whether the signaller intends to inform (Cheney & Seyfarth 1990; Cheney et al.1996; Tomasello & Call 1997; Rendall et al. 2000) and about the exact definition of the information content (Rendall et al. 2009), there is growing evidence for elaborate inferring mechanisms in receivers (Fischer 1988; Rendall et al. 1996; Zuberbühler et al. 1999). Most studies so far have focused on animal species that produce alarm calls in the context of predation and thus possess cognitive abilities that are involved in both signalling and perceiving information about predator presence. "
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