Navigation Links
Meerkats recognize each other from their calls

Recognizing other individuals from their voices is second nature to humans. Certain primates also have this ability. Whether other mammals that live in social groups are also able to do so, however, is unclear. Like with primates, vocal communication is vital for meerkats. They coordinate their activities with calls, such as to warn other group members of approaching predators, for instance, and thus stick together as a group. Behavior biologists from the University of Zurich have already managed to decipher many calls in meerkat communication. Now, however, they have become the first to establish that meerkats are able to distinguish individual calls.

Vocal recognition

Behavior biologists from the University of Zurich simulated the simultaneous presence of a group member in two different places in a novel playback experiment on wild meerkats in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa. Meerkats were played two different calls from the same group member one after the other. This physically impossible scenario was contrasted with a physically possible scenario where the meerkats heard calls from two different group members. According to the researcher in charge, Simon Townsend, the meerkats responded more strongly to the impossible scenario than to calls from two different individuals. The scientists concluded that meerkats can tell the individual members of a group apart from their calls.

Differentiated distinction

Meerkat colonies are highly organized and essentially divide their work into three roles: lookouts, hunters and babysitters. Until now, we had assumed that meerkats assigned their conspecific counterparts to these groups but do not differentiate them from one another. With this experiment, however, the behavior biologists have proved this assumption wrong. In both scenarios, calls from an equal-ranking group member were used. "We take it that meerkats can tell the individual group members apart. However, we don't yet know which cognitive mechanisms underlie this ability. Or whether the ability to tell group members apart is merely linked to auditory cues," says Townsend.

Contact: Simon Townsend, University of Zurich
University of Zurich

Related biology news :

1. Honest crabs, power to the hungry, nice mice and clever meerkats: News from the American Naturalist
2. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes AOptix Technologies for its Pioneering Contribution to Security through Noninvasive Biometrics
3. Biologists, educators recognize excellence in evolution education
4. Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Precise Biometrics as a Key Player in the Non-AFIS Fingerprint Market
5. Collegiate Inventors Competition recognizes top student inventors
6. Brain recognizes verbal oh dear wave
7. Value of satellites recognized for conserving wetlands
8. Pollution at home lurks unrecognized, instead attributed to large-scale environmental disasters
9. Household exposure to toxic chemicals lurks unrecognized, researchers find
10. 13 UCR faculty members recognized by American Association for the Advancement of Science
11. Rice University psychologist finds womens brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... GOTHENBURG, Sweden , April 28, 2016 ... 1,491.2 M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of ... Operating profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating ... SEK 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was ... , The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics ... during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics ... such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in ... Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio ... practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 ... 2016;12(1):22-8 Published recently ... peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz ... of cancer care is placing an increasing burden ... expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on many ...
Breaking Biology Technology: