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J Acoust Soc Am. 2002 Mar;111(3):1465-74.

Acoustic features of male baboon loud calls: influences of context, age, and individuality.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


The acoustic structure of loud calls ("wahoos") recorded from free-ranging male baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) in the Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana, was examined for differences between and within contexts, using calls given in response to predators (alarm wahoos), during male contests (contest wahoos), and when a male had become separated from the group (contact wahoos). Calls were recorded from adolescent, subadult, and adult males. In addition, male alarm calls were compared with those recorded from females. Despite their superficial acoustic similarity, the analysis revealed a number of significant differences between alarm, contest, and contact wahoos. Contest wahoos are given at a much higher rate, exhibit lower frequency characteristics, have a longer "hoo" duration, and a relatively louder "hoo" portion than alarm wahoos. Contact wahoos are acoustically similar to contest wahoos, but are given at a much lower rate. Both alarm and contest wahoos also exhibit significant differences among individuals. Some of the acoustic features that vary in relation to age and sex presumably reflect differences in body size, whereas others are possibly related to male stamina and endurance. The finding that calls serving markedly different functions constitute variants of the same general call type suggests that the vocal production in nonhuman primates is evolutionarily constrained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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