Production of food-associated calls in wild male chimpanzees is dependent on the composition of the audience

Katie E. Slocombe, Tanja Kaller, Laurel Turman, Simon W. Townsend, Sarah Papworth, Paul Squibbs, Klaus Zuberbuehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chimpanzees produce acoustically distinct calls when encountering food. Previous research on a number of species has indicated that food-associated calls are relatively widespread in animal communication, and the production of these calls can be influenced by both ecological and social factors. Here, we investigate the factors influencing the production of food-associated calls in wild chimpanzees and examine whether male chimpanzees produce food-associated calls selectively in the presence of important social partners. Male chimpanzees form stable long-term social relationships with each other, and these social bonds are vital in enabling a range of cooperative activities, such as group hunting and territory defence. Our data show that males were significantly more likely to produce food-associated calls if an important social partner was nearby, regardless of the size of the audience or the presence of oestrus females. Call production was also mediated by the size of the food patch and by whether or not the food could be monopolised. The presence of important social partners explained most of the variation in male calling behaviour, indicating that food-associated calls are socially directed and serve a bonding function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1959-1966
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume64
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

Keywords

  • Chimpanzee
  • Food-associated call
  • Audience effect
  • Social bonding
  • Grooming
  • Call production
  • Vocal communication
  • COTTON-TOP TAMARINS
  • REFERENTIAL COMMUNICATION
  • CAPUCHIN MONKEYS
  • CEBUS-APELLA
  • ALARM CALLS
  • PREFERENCES
  • INFORMATION
  • COOPERATION
  • QUANTITY
  • PRIMATES

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