Toshitaka N Suzuki

Toshitaka N Suzuki
Kyoto University | Kyodai · The Hakubi Center for Advanced Research

PhD

About

44
Publications
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1,024
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Additional affiliations
April 2008 - March 2012
Rikkyo University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
The generative power of human language depends on grammatical rules, such as word ordering, that allow us to produce and comprehend even novel combinations of words [1-3]. Several species of birds and mammals produce sequences of calls [4-6], and, like words in human sentences, their order may influence receiver responses [7]. However, it is unknow...
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Establishing the theory of language evolution is an ongoing challenge in science. One profitable approach in this regard is to seek the origins of linguistic capabilities by comparing language with the vocal communication systems of closely related relatives (i.e., the great apes). However, several key capabilities of language appear to be absent i...
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Birds are important predators of insects and insects often incorporate chemical defenses that may make themselves distasteful or toxic to the predators. Predators can respond to chemically defended prey in multiple ways, the predator psychology approach to predation often treats predation as a general process despite the possibility for multiple re...
Article
Many animals produce vocal alarm signals when they detect a predator, and heterospecific species sharing predators often eavesdrop on and respond to these calls [1]. Despite the widespread occurrence of interspecific eavesdropping in animals, its underlying cognitive process remains to be elucidated. If alarm calls, like human referential words, de...
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Many species of birds produce distinct calls when mobbing predators. These calls often recruit nearby conspecifics and heterospecifics to help drive the predators away. In some species, such as members of the family Paridae, mobbing calls are composed of multiple elements that seem to follow a characteristic order. Previous work in parids demonstra...
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Syntax (rules for combining words or elements) and semantics (meaning of expressions) are two pivotal features of human language, and interaction between them allows us to generate a limitless number of meaningful expressions. While both features were traditionally thought to be unique to human language, research over the past four decades has reve...
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Toshitaka Suzuki and Klaus Zuberbühler introduce the syntactical features found in the communication systems of non-human animals.
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Understanding the origins and evolution of language remains a deep challenge, because its complexity and expressive power are unparalleled in the animal world. One of the key features of language is that the meaning of an expression is determined both by the meanings of its constituent parts and the syntactic rules used to combine them; known as th...
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Japanese tits (Parus minor) produce specific alarm calls when they encounter a predatory snake. A recent field experiment showed that receiver tits became visually perceptive to an object resembling a snake when hearing these calls. However, the tits did not respond to the same object when hearing other call types or when the object was dissimilar...
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Syntax is the set of rules for combining words into phrases, providing the basis for the generative power of linguistic expressions. In human language, the principle of compositionality governs how words are combined into a larger unit, the meaning of which depends on both the meanings of the words and the way in which they are combined. This lingu...
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One of the core features of human speech is that words cause listeners to retrieve corresponding visual mental images. However, whether vocalizations similarly evoke mental images in animal communication systems is surprisingly unknown. Japanese tits (Parus minor) produce specific alarm calls when and only when encountering a predatory snake. Here,...
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Understanding how individual behaviour influences the spatial and temporal distribution of other species is necessary to resolve the complex structure of species assemblages. Mixed-species bird flocks provide an ideal opportunity to investigate this issue, because members of the flocks are involved in a variety of behavioural interactions between s...
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Responding appropriately during the first predatory attack in life is often critical for survival. In many social species, naïve juveniles acquire this skill from conspecifics, but its fitness consequences remain virtually unknown. Here we experimentally demonstrate how naïve juvenile Siberian jays (Perisoreus infaustus) derive a long-term fitness...
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Human language can express limitless meanings from a finite set of words based on combinatorial rules (i.e., compositional syntax). Although animal vocalizations may be comprised of different basic elements (notes), it remains unknown whether compositional syntax has also evolved in animals. Here we report the first experimental evidence for compos...
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Cooperative breeding is a widespread and intense form of cooperation, in which individuals help raise offspring that are not their own. This behaviour is particularly well studied in birds, using both long-term and comparative studies that have provided insights into the evolution of reproductive altruism. In most cooperatively breeding species, he...
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What do animal signals mean? This is a central question in studies on animal communication. Research into the semantics of animal signals began in 1980, with evidence that alarm calls of a non-human primate designated predators as external referents. These studies have challenged the historical assumption that such referential signaling is a unique...
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The social acquisition of life skills is essential in a wide range of species. Field experiments have demonstrated that naïve young learn particularly from their parents how to deal with predators or how to find suitable food. However, it remains unclear whether the response of young differs in a novel situation when together with related (i.e. par...
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Japanese great tits (Parus minor) use a sophisticated system of anti-predator communication when defending their offspring: they produce different mobbing calls for different nest predators (snake versus non-snake predators) and thereby convey this information to conspecifics (i.e. functionally referential call system). The present playback experim...
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Masquerade describes a defence by animals that have evolved to closely resemble inedible objects such as twigs, stones or bird droppings. Animals that masquerade often match their models in size or shape, and may even adopt specific postures in order to enhance their resemblance, causing predators to misclassify them as their model objects. The cat...
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Parents of many bird species produce alarm calls when they approach and deter a nest predator in order to defend their offspring. Alarm calls have been shown to warn nestlings about predatory threats, but parents also face a similar risk of predation when incubating eggs in their nests. Here, I show that incubating female Japanese great tits, Parus...
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Mass or body-size measures of ‘condition’ are of central importance to the study of ecology and evolution, and it is often assumed that differences in condition measures are positively and linearly related to fitness. Using examples drawn from ecological studies, we show that indices of condition frequently are unlikely to be related to fitness in...
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Many animals use variation in their alarm calls to warn conspecifics about different predatory threats. Information about predators can be encoded by producing discrete types of alarm calls and/or through graded variation in a single call type (i.e. calling rate or note repetitions). Another way to encode predator information is to combine differen...
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Avian nests face a wide variety of nest predators, which pose different risks that could select for the ability of parents to notify conspecifics of nest predator type. We previously demonstrated that the Japanese Tit (Parus minor) produces acoustically distinct mobbing calls for different nest predators (crows and snakes), thereby eliciting differ...
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Women in the UK prefer the faces of men with low levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and the relationship is moderated by the sex hormone testosterone. In a Latvian sample, however, women's preferences were not affected by cortisol, and the interaction with testosterone differed from that of the UK. To further explore cross-cultural variation in...
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Willow Tits Poecile montanus produce calls when they discover food sources. These calls function to attract conspecific and heterospecific individuals to the food site, thereby facilitating the formation of mixed-species foraging flocks. Since individuals may gain feeding/anti-predator benefits while foraging in mixed-species flocks, the ability of...
Article
Individuals of many avian and mammalian species produce antipredator calls when they encounter a predator. These calls often vary in acoustic structure depending on the type or level of predation risk, thereby eliciting the appropriate escape responses in conspecifics. Such complexity in communication may also be advantageous in situations in which...
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The occurrence of mixed-species foraging flocks is a worldwide phenomenon in terrestrial bird communities. Previous studies suggest that individuals participating in flocks might derive benefits in terms of improved feeding efficiency and/or reduced risk of predation. However, very little is known about how individuals establish mixed-species flock...
Article
Animal communication signals can contain surprisingly complex information, which plays a vital role in a variety of social interactions. For example, many species of birds and mammals produce vocal alarm signals when encountering a predator 1 and 2, and these calls often serve to communicate the type of predator and/or the degree of danger to membe...
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We report on a mixed brood of Great (Parus major) and Varied (Poecile varius) tits. The brood consisted of one Great Tit and five Varied Tits. Incubation and food provisioning to nestlings were by adult Varied Tits, but not by adult Great Tits. The foreign Great Tit nestling tended to receive more food than the average Varied Tit nestling. Provisio...