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Age- and sex-dependent contact call usage in Japanese macaques

Abstract : The question of the flexibility of nonhuman primate vocal communication remains open today, especially due to early evidence of innately guided vocal production. However, socially determined flexibility can be found when the debate is moved from vocal structure to vocal usage. While increasing evidence shows that the audience quality influences the vocal behaviour of nonhuman primates, the impact of the caller's characteristics has been far less studied. Here, we tested the influence of an individual's sex and age on the usage style of contact calls. We recorded contact calls of male and female Japanese macaques and compared the vocal usage styles of approximately 1-year-old juveniles with those of adults at various ages. We found, first, important differences in call usage style between juveniles and adults, the latter forming temporally ruled vocal exchanges respecting an interindividual turntaking principle. Moreover, sex differences were substantial in adults but nonexistent in juveniles. Finally, age continued to influence female vocal behaviour during adulthood, whereas dominance rank explained differences between adult males. Two nonexclusive mechanisms can explain this phenomenon, that is, a socially guided development of the appropriate form of calling versus an emotional maturation to control call emission, opening new lines of research on nonhuman primate vocal development of appropriate usages.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 7, 2014 - 3:10:25 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 4:08:03 PM

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Alban Lemasson, Manon Guilloux, - Rizaldi, Stéphanie Barbu, Agnès Lacroix, et al.. Age- and sex-dependent contact call usage in Japanese macaques. Primates, Springer Verlag, 2013, 54 (3), pp.283--291. ⟨10.1007/s10329-013-0347-5⟩. ⟨hal-01019933⟩



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