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: 2.34). 04/2000; 114(1):36-46. DOI: 10.1037/0735-7036.114.1.36
Source: PubMed


"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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    • "The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus ) and the orange fronted conure (Arantinga canicularis) have both been studied extensively and both have been shown to possess individually distinctive signature contact calls (Farabaugh & Dooling, 1996; Bradbury et al., 2001; Cortopassi & Bradbury, 2006). Contact calls are found in both birds and mammals (e.g., birds: e.g., Zann, 1965; Stokes, 1967; Wyndham, 1980; Martella & Bucher, 1990; Farabaugh & Dooling, 1996; Wright, 1996; Bradbury et al., 2001; Bradbury, 2003; Vignal et al., 2004; mammals: e.g., bottlenose dolphins: Janik & Slater, 1998; chacma baboons: Rendall et al., 2000; fur seals: Charrier et al., 2003). Contact calls are usually given when an individual is isolated from its companions and is hypothesized to facilitate pair formation and maintenance (e.g., Hile et al., 2000), location of offspring (e.g., Jouventin et al., 1999), individual recognition (Brown et al., 1988; Janik & Slater, 1998; Wanker & Fischer, 2001; Vignal et al., 2004; Buhrman-Deever et al., 2008; Berg et al., 2011) as well as to help establishing new social connections, affirming existing connections, group cohesion or coordinating movement and spacing among groups and individuals (Bradbury et al., 2001; Bradbury, 2003; Marler, 2004; Cortopassi & Bradbury, 2006; Balsby & Bradbury, 2009; Kondo & Watanabe, 2009). "
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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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