Send to

Choose Destination
J Acoust Soc Am. 2007 Mar;121(3):1758-67.

Nonlinear acoustics in the pant hoots of common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): vocalizing at the edge.

Author information

National Center for Voice and Speech, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, CO 80204, USA.


Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) "pant hoots" are multi-call events that build from quiet, consistently harmonic introductory sounds to loud, screamlike "climax" calls with acoustic irregularities known as "nonlinear phenomena" (NLP). Two possible functions of NLP in climax calls are to increase direct auditory impact on listeners and to signal physical condition. These possibilities were addressed by comparing climax calls from 12 wild chimpanzee males with "screams" and pant hoot "introduction" calls from the same individuals. Climax calls that included NLP were found to have higher fundamental frequencies (F0s) than introduction or climax calls that were purely harmonic. NLP onsets within climax calls were also specifically associated with local F0 maxima, suggesting vocalizers are vibrating their vocal folds at the upper limits of stability. Furthermore, climax calls showed far fewer NLP than did screams recorded from the same individuals, while showing equivalent or higher F0 values. Overall, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that the relative prevalence of NLP is a signal of physical condition, with callers "vocalizing at the edge" of regular, stable production while producing few NLP. The results are discussed in light of the initial hypotheses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Institute of Physics
Loading ...
Support Center