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

Biology, William Penn University, Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
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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    • "Although sound rates may not give detailed information regarding referential aspects of animals' communication (Clay et al., 2012), it might still shed light about the general arousal levels of the individuals during different conditions (Weary and Fraser, 1995; Grandin, 1998; Frohoff et al., 2004; Monticelli et al., 2004). Among mammals, dolphins possess a very complex communication system (Caldwell and Caldwell, 1968; Puente and Dewbury, 1976; Sjare and Smith, 1986; Dawson and Thorpe, 1990; Weilgart and Whitehead, 1990; Norris et al., 1994; BarrettLennard et al., 1996; Herzing, 1996) and like primates (Owing and Virginia, 1978; Mitami and Nishida, 1993; Rendall et al., 2000), they can convey information regarding behavioral or environmental changes either by producing particular types of calls (Esch et al., 2009; Hawkins and Gardside, 2010) or with the variations of their rates. Therefore, acoustic monitoring should represent a tool to gather information on activity patterns, health conditions of captive cetaceans in order to improve the quality of their life (Castellote and Fossa, 2006; Akiyama and Ohta, 2007; Therrien et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines whether a group of captive false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens ) showed variations in the vocal rate around feeding times. The high level of motivation to express appetitive behaviors in captive animals may lead them to respond with changes of the behavioral activities during the time prior to food deliveries which are referred to as food anticipatory activity. False killer whales at Qingdao Polar Ocean World (Qingdao, China) showed significant variations of the rates of both the total sounds and sound classes (whistles, clicks, and burst pulses) around feedings. Precisely, from the Transition interval that recorded the lowest vocalization rate (3.40 s/m/d), the whales increased their acoustic emissions upon trainers’ arrival (13.08 s/m/d). The high rate was maintained or intensified throughout the food delivery (25.12 s/m/d), and then reduced immediately after the animals were fed (9.91 s/m/d). These changes in the false killer whales sound production rates around feeding times supports the hypothesis of the presence of a food anticipatory vocal activity. Although sound rates may not give detailed information regarding referential aspects of the animal communication it might still shed light about the arousal levels of the individuals during different social or environmental conditions. Further experiments should be performed to assess if variations of the time of feeding routines may affect the vocal activity of cetaceans in captivity as well as their welfare.
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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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