Navigation Links
Before sounding an alarm, chimps consider their audience
Date:12/29/2011

It's a basic rule of effective communication: Consider your audience. According to a new report published online on December 29 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, that rule of thumb is not lost on wild chimpanzees. Chimps are more likely to make an alarm call about the presence of a snake when others in the group are unaware of the apparent danger they face, the new evidence shows.

The findings suggest that chimpanzees keep track of the information available to other chimpanzees and make selective decisions about the messages they convey based on that understanding.

"Chimpanzees really seem to take another's knowledge state into account," said Catherine Crockford of the University of St Andrews. "They voluntarily produce a warning call to inform audience members of a danger that they do not know about. They are less likely to inform those who already know about the danger."

The researchers made the discovery by placing model snakes in the path of wild chimpanzees in Uganda and watching their reactions. Those studies showed that when an individual chimp detects a snake, they typically produce an "alert hoo" to tell other chimps within earshot. As new group members arrive on the scene, chimps in the know repeat their "alert hoo," filling in the newcomers that a snake is in their midst.

The findings challenge the notion that only humans recognize ignorance in others and act so as to fill them in, the researchers say. They also show that chimpanzee vocalizations are influenced by a prosocial motivation, to intentionally inform others of danger.

The findings are particularly noteworthy given debates over the role of mental state attribution in the evolution of language. "Some have argued that a crucial stage in this evolution occurred when individuals began producing vocalizations with the goal of informing and thereby reducing ignorance in others," Crockford said. The new findings show that "more of the 'essential ingredients' needed to kick start complex communication are evident in chimpanzees than we thought."

It's also key that the findings were made in chimpanzees in the wild, Crockford added. "The advantage of addressing these questions in wild chimpanzees is that they are simply doing what they always do in an ecologically relevant setting; the task is always relevant," she said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elisabeth (Lisa) Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Plasma treatment zaps viruses before they can attack cells
2. Exposure to chemical BPA before birth linked to behavioral, emotional difficulties in girls
3. Exercise before and during early pregnancy increases two beneficial proteins for mothers-to-be
4. Moms who eat high-fat diet before, during pregnancy program babies to be fat, at risk
5. Chronic pain: Watch out before accepting diagnosis and treatment
6. Alzheimers risk gene disrupts brains wiring 50 years before disease hits
7. U of I study: Before you start bone-building meds, try dietary calcium and supplements
8. Fluctuations before the fall: Predicting and preventing environmental collapse
9. Like products, plants wait for optimal configuration before market success
10. Smithsonian scientists help block ship-borne bioinvaders before they dock
11. Losing body fat before pregnancy can be beneficial for the baby
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2016)... DUBLIN , March 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... has announced the addition of the  "Global ... to their offering.  ,     (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769) , ... sector to grow at a CAGR of ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/wzwqtz/global_biometrics ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... , March 1, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Biometric ...  report to their offering. --> ... addition of the  "Global Biometric Access ... to their offering. --> ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... YORK and SAN FRANCISCO ... today between HYPR Corp. and BitGo, Inc. extends biometric ... cryptocurrency, identities and private keys. Bitcoin ... over $1 billion per month in digital assets with ... staggering figure for any startup. HYPR enables enterprises to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Leading CEOs from biotech, pharmaceutical, and healthcare ... 1st at The Four Seasons Hotel Boston. , The Boston CEO Conference is ... access to key decision makers who influence deal making and investment. Attendees gain ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... NeuroTech NYC , the sensor and data driven conferences, will take place on June 7-8, ... UnitedHealth's Vidya Raman-Tangella on incorporating technology -- including AR/VR, machine learning, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... ... According to world renowned prostate cancer surgeon, Dr. David B. Samadi ... main treatment options: surgery or radiation. Based on a patient’s goals, disease state, and ... doctors to administer higher doses of radiation to prostate cancer patients with ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... in mind, the fresh look and added functionality give the agricultural world a ... seen a dynamic shift in agriculture – from precision farming via satellites and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: