In animal vocal communication, the development of adult-like vocalization is fundamental to interact appropriately with conspecifics. However, the factors that guide ontogenetic changes in the acoustic features remains poorly understood. In contrast with a historical view of nonhuman primate vocal production as substantially innate, recent research suggests that inheritance and physiological modification can only explain some of the developmental changes in call structure during growth. A particular case of acoustic communication is the indris' singing behavior, a peculiar case among Strepsirrhine primates. Thanks to a decade of intense data collection, this work provides the first long-term quantitative analysis on song development in a singing primate. To understand the ontogeny of such a complex vocal output, we investigated juvenile and sub-adult indris' vocal behaviour, and we found that young individuals started participating in the chorus years earlier than previously reported. Our results indicated that spectro-temporal song parameters underwent essential changes during growth. In particular, the age and sex of the emitter influenced the indris' vocal activity. We found that frequency parameters showed consistent changes across the sexes, but the temporal features showed different developmental trajectories for males and females. Given the low level of morphological sexual dimorphism and the marked differences in vocal behavior, we hypothesize that factors like social influences and auditory feedback may affect songs' features, resulting in high vocal flexibility in juvenile indris. This trait may be pivotal in a species that engages in choruses with rapid vocal turn-taking.

Born to sing! Song development in a singing primate

Chiara De Gregorio
;
Filippo Carugati;Vittoria Estienne;Daria Valente;Teresa Raimondi;Valeria Torti;L. Miaretsoa;Marco Gamba
;
Cristina Giacoma
2021

Abstract

In animal vocal communication, the development of adult-like vocalization is fundamental to interact appropriately with conspecifics. However, the factors that guide ontogenetic changes in the acoustic features remains poorly understood. In contrast with a historical view of nonhuman primate vocal production as substantially innate, recent research suggests that inheritance and physiological modification can only explain some of the developmental changes in call structure during growth. A particular case of acoustic communication is the indris' singing behavior, a peculiar case among Strepsirrhine primates. Thanks to a decade of intense data collection, this work provides the first long-term quantitative analysis on song development in a singing primate. To understand the ontogeny of such a complex vocal output, we investigated juvenile and sub-adult indris' vocal behaviour, and we found that young individuals started participating in the chorus years earlier than previously reported. Our results indicated that spectro-temporal song parameters underwent essential changes during growth. In particular, the age and sex of the emitter influenced the indris' vocal activity. We found that frequency parameters showed consistent changes across the sexes, but the temporal features showed different developmental trajectories for males and females. Given the low level of morphological sexual dimorphism and the marked differences in vocal behavior, we hypothesize that factors like social influences and auditory feedback may affect songs' features, resulting in high vocal flexibility in juvenile indris. This trait may be pivotal in a species that engages in choruses with rapid vocal turn-taking.
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https://academic.oup.com/cz/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cz/zoab018/6159321
ontogeny, duet, lemurs, juveniles, flexibility, rhythm
Chiara De Gregorio, Filippo Carugati, Vittoria Estienne, Daria Valente, Teresa Raimondi, Valeria Torti, L. Miaretsoa, Jonah Ratsimbazafy, Marco Gamba, Cristina Giacoma
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1780295
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