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Biol Lett. 2012 Aug 23;8(4):508-11. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.1149. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Primate communication in the pure ultrasound.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521, USA. marissa.ramsier@humboldt.edu

Abstract

Few mammals-cetaceans, domestic cats and select bats and rodents-can send and receive vocal signals contained within the ultrasonic domain, or pure ultrasound (greater than 20 kHz). Here, we use the auditory brainstem response (ABR) method to demonstrate that a species of nocturnal primate, the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), has a high-frequency limit of auditory sensitivity of ca 91 kHz. We also recorded a vocalization with a dominant frequency of 70 kHz. Such values are among the highest recorded for any terrestrial mammal, and a relatively extreme example of ultrasonic communication. For Philippine tarsiers, ultrasonic vocalizations might represent a private channel of communication that subverts detection by predators, prey and competitors, enhances energetic efficiency, or improves detection against low-frequency background noise.

PMID:
22319094
PMCID:
PMC3391437
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2011.1149
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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