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Am J Primatol. 2003 Aug;60(4):155-9.

Possible audience effect in Thomas langurs (Primates; Presbytis thomasi): an experimental study on male loud calls in response to a tiger model.

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Behavioural Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Recent research indicates that animal vocalizations can refer to objects in the outside world, and that call production may be controlled by the sender depending on the type of audience involved. Our research on wild male Thomas langurs (Primates: Presbytis thomasi) shows that these males call as a response to a tiger model when they are in a group, but do not call when they are solitary. This is the first experimental study on wild primates to demonstrate that the presence or absence of an audience influences calling behavior. Our results indicate that males in mixed-sex groups give more loud calls than solitary males when exposed to a predator model. This suggests that giving loud calls in response to predators is not purely a reflex and may be controlled in some way by the sender.

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