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Keywords:

  • chimpanzees;
  • vocalizations;
  • learning

Abstract

Chimpanzees emit a loud, species-typical long distance call known as the pant hoot. Geographic variation between the pant hoots of chimpanzees living in two neighboring populations, the Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks, Tanzania, was examined. Analysis of six acoustic features revealed subtle differences in the way chimpanzees from the two populations called. Individuals from the Mahale study site uttered one section of their pant hoots at a faster rate and with shorter elements than animals from Gombe Stream. In addition, individuals at Mahale delivered broader-band, higher pitched “climax” elements than males from Gombe. While genetic factors, anatomical differences, variations in the use of calls at the two sites, and changes in calling over time may account for the variability between populations, we suggest the additional possibility that differences in pant hooting may be due to learning. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.