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Remedios, R. ; Nikos, L.* ; Kayser, C.*

Monkeys communicate by drumming.

Poster: 1st Workshop on Cognition and Evolution (CogEvo 2009), Rovereto, Italy. (2009)
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Drumming is an activity practiced across all human cultures. Its origin, however, remains unknown. Drumming behavior is also displayed by non-human primates, such as chimpanzees and gorillas, suggesting that the underlying neural substrate has propagated through primate evolution. Here we describe a similar behavior in captive macaque monkeys: these animals use artificial objects in their environment to produce loud and repetitive sounds. Although these drumming sounds deviate in their acoustic properties much from typical vocal sounds, behavioral tests demonstrate that they serve as acoustic communication signals. First, in a preferential orienting task, naive subjects orient towards drumming sounds as frequently as to conspecific vocalizations but more than to other environmental sounds. Second, when drumming sounds are accompanied by a video of a conspecific animal, subjects clearly attempt to communicate with this individual, and when passively listening to such sounds individuals often show increased hea rt rate, suggesting that these sounds evoke emotional responses. Third, on investigating the neural networks underlying the perception of these drumming sounds using fMRI, we find that drumming sounds activate the same networks that are otherwise specialized for processing vocal communication sounds. Together, our results suggest that drumming originated in non-human primates as a form of non-vocal acoustic communication.
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Publikationstyp Konferenzposter
Konferenztitel 1st Workshop on Cognition and Evolution (CogEvo 2009)
Konferenzort Rovereto, Italy
Institut(e) Helmholtz Pioneer Campus (HPC)