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Keywords:

  • Primates;
  • Galaginae;
  • Vocalizations;
  • Ontogeny;
  • Taxonomy;
  • Phylogeny

Abstract

A comparative bioacustic analysis of vocalizations of the prosimian subfamily Galaginae revealed that morphologically similar sibling taxa within the main groups of the lesser galagos and the greater galagos can be reliably identified phenotypically on the basis of the acoustic structure of their loud call or advertisement call. Results confirm the separation of two distinct species of greater galagos, Galago crassicaudatus and Galago garnettii, and strongly suggest the discrimination of three distinct species from the senegalensis lesser bushbaby group, Galago senegalensis, Galago moholi and Galao zanzibaricus.

An investigation of the ontogenetic development of the loud call indicated that it is derived from the infant's isolation call, displaying in all studied bushbaby taxa a fairly similar acoustic pattern. Shared acoustic characters of the loud call among the different taxa as well as the infant's isolation call were used to propose a hypothesis about the phylogenetic affinities in bushbabies. The results seem to be supported by recent fossil records.