The increasing interest in the evolution of human language has led several fields of research to focus on primate vocal communication. The ‘singing primates’, which produce elaborated and complex sequences of vocalizations, are of particular interest for this topic. Indris (Indri indri) are the only singing lemurs and emit songs whose most distinctive portions are “descending phrases” consisting of 2-5 units. We examined how the structure of the indris’ phrases varied with genetic relatedness among individuals. We tested whether the acoustic structure could provide conspecifics with information about individual identity and group membership. When analyzing phrase dissimilarity and genetic distance of both sexes, we found significant results for males but not for females. We found that similarity of male song-phrases correlates with kin in both time and frequency parameters, while, for females, this information is encoded only in the frequency of a single type. Song phrases have consistent individual-specific features, but we did not find any potential for advertising group membership. We emphasize the fact that genetic and social factors may play a role in the acoustic plasticity of female indris. Altogether, these findings open a new perspective for future research on the possibility of vocal production learning in these primates.

An intra-population analysis of the indris' song dissimilarity in the light of genetic distance

TORTI, VALERIA;BONADONNA, GIOVANNA;DE GREGORIO, CHIARA;VALENTE, DARIA;RANDRIANARISON, ROSE MARIE;FRIARD, Olivier Pierre;POZZI, LUCA;GAMBA, Marco
Co-last
;
GIACOMA, Cristina
Co-last
2017-01-01

Abstract

The increasing interest in the evolution of human language has led several fields of research to focus on primate vocal communication. The ‘singing primates’, which produce elaborated and complex sequences of vocalizations, are of particular interest for this topic. Indris (Indri indri) are the only singing lemurs and emit songs whose most distinctive portions are “descending phrases” consisting of 2-5 units. We examined how the structure of the indris’ phrases varied with genetic relatedness among individuals. We tested whether the acoustic structure could provide conspecifics with information about individual identity and group membership. When analyzing phrase dissimilarity and genetic distance of both sexes, we found significant results for males but not for females. We found that similarity of male song-phrases correlates with kin in both time and frequency parameters, while, for females, this information is encoded only in the frequency of a single type. Song phrases have consistent individual-specific features, but we did not find any potential for advertising group membership. We emphasize the fact that genetic and social factors may play a role in the acoustic plasticity of female indris. Altogether, these findings open a new perspective for future research on the possibility of vocal production learning in these primates.
2017
7
1
10140
10151
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-10656-9
Multidisciplinary
Torti, Valeria; Bonadonna, Giovanna; De Gregorio, Chiara; Valente, Daria; Randrianarison, Rose Marie; Friard, Olivier; Pozzi, Luca; Gamba, Marco; Giacoma, Cristina
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1647889
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