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Chimpanzees Differentially Produce Novel Vocalizations to Capture the Attention of a Human

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  • Article
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Chimpanzees produce numerous species-atypical signals when raised in captivity. Here we report contextual elements of the use of two captivity-specific vocal signals, the “raspberry” and the extended grunt. Results demonstrate that these vocalizations are not elicited by the presence of food; rather the data suggest that these vocalizations function as attention-getting signals. These findings demonstrate a heretofore underappreciated category of animal signals: novel signals invented in novel environmental circumstances. The invention and use of species-atypical signals, considered in relation to group differences in signaling repertoires in apes in their natural habitats, may index a generative capacity in these hominoid species without obvious corollary in other primate species.

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