Wednesday, January 13, 2010

monkey talk

While only some animals have a say in our culture (namely "pets"), the truth is, a lot of them are talking. Check out this great article on monkey communication.

The Campbell’s monkeys give a “krak” alarm call when they see a leopard. But adding an “-oo” changes it to a generic warning of predators. One context for the krak-oo sound is when they hear the leopard alarm calls of another species, the Diana monkey. The Campbell’s monkeys would evidently make good reporters since they distinguish between leopards they have observed directly (krak) and those they have heard others observe (krak-oo).

Even more remarkably, the Campbell’s monkeys can combine two calls to generate a third with a different meaning. The males have a “Boom boom” call, which means “I’m here, come to me.” When booms are followed by a series of krak-oos, the meaning is quite different, Dr. Zuberb├╝hler says. The sequence means “Timber! Falling tree!” full article

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