Abstract # 80:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


L. A. Reamer1, S. P. Lambeth1, J. P. Taglialatela2,3, S. J. Schapiro1 and W. D. Hopkins1,3,4
1Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA, 2Kennesaw State University, 3Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 4Georgia State University
     In captivity, some chimpanzees produce idiosyncratic vocal signals to obtain the attention of humans. These sounds are referred to as ‘attention-getting’ (AG) vocalizations. A recent study showed that the production of these sounds by captive chimpanzees is socially learned, being transmitted from mother to offspring. The current study examined concordance in the production of AG vocalizations between group-mate dyads and non-group-mate dyads. Sixty-four chimpanzees were assessed and categorized as either an AG vocalizer or AG-non-vocalizer. Each subject was compared to all other group-mates and non-group-mates to assess concordance rates in AG production. Dyads were defined as concordant when both members of the dyad produced AG vocalizations or neither produced AG vocalizations. Dyads were considered disconcordant when one member of the dyad produced AG vocalizations while the other member did not. Analysis assessing concordance in group-mate and non-group-mate dyads, showed a significant deviation from chance (x2=20.713, df=1, p<0.001). There were more concordant (63.6%) than disconcordant dyads (36.4%) within groups and more disconcordant (52.4%) than concordant dyads (47.6%) between groups. These findings suggest that AG vocalizations may not only be transmitted from mother-to-offspring, but also among group-mates. Future investigation into the mechanisms underlying such social learning, such as age and group composition at acquisition, may provide valuable insights into human language acquisition and evolution.