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Encoding of situations in the vocal repertoire of piglets (Sus scrofa): A comparison of discrete and graded classifications

Abstract : Two important questions in bioacoustics are whether vocal repertoires of animals are graded or discrete and how the vocal expressions are linked to the context of emission. Here we address these questions in an ungulate species. The vocal repertoire of young domestic pigs, Sus scrofa, was quantitatively described based on 1513 calls recorded in 11 situations. We described the acoustic quality of calls with 8 acoustic parameters. Based on these parameters, the k-means clustering method showed a possibility to distinguish either two or five clusters although the call types are rather blurred than strictly discrete. The division of the vocal repertoire of piglets into two call types has previously been used in many experimental studies into pig acoustic communication and the five call types correspond well to previously published partial repertoires in specific situations. Clear links exist between the type of situation, its putative valence, and the vocal expression in that situation. These links can be described adequately both with a set of quantitative acoustic variables and through categorisation into call types. The information about the situation of emission of the calls is encoded through five call types almost as accurately as through the full quantitative description.
Keywords : K-means
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Céline Tallet-Saighi, Pavel Linhart, Richard Policht, Kurt Hammerschmidt, Petr Simeček, et al.. Encoding of situations in the vocal repertoire of piglets (Sus scrofa): A comparison of discrete and graded classifications. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2013, 8 (8), pp.e71841. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0071841⟩. ⟨hal-01210431⟩

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