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J Comp Psychol. 2004 Dec;118(4):447-54.

Call usage learning in gray seals (Halichoerus grypus).

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  • 1School of Biology, University of St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom.


Call usage learning can be demonstrated on 4 different levels: signaling on command, signaling and refraining from signaling on command, responding to a trained stimulus with a signal from a specific signal class, and responding to the playback of any untrained stimulus with one from the same signal class. Two young gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) were trained successfully to demonstrate the first 2 levels. They also learned to respond to 9 moan stimuli and 9 growl stimuli with vocalizations of the same class (Level 3). However, novel moan and growl stimuli tended to elicit growls. This casts doubt on the possibility that gray seals can reach the 4th level, but it demonstrates that they are capable of the first 3 levels of usage learning.

Copyright 2004 APA, all rights reserved.

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