5000 recordings of chimpanzees suggest that chimpanzees are having conversations using as many as 390 syntaxes.

A new study of recording and analyzing 5,000 wild chimpanzee calls reveals that chimpanzees combine 12 different barks in a complex way to create 390 different 'syntaxes.'

Chimpanzees produce diverse vocal sequences with ordered and recombinatorial properties | Communications Biology


Chimpanzees combine calls to form numerous vocal sequences | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Thousands of Chimp Vocal Recordings Reveal a Hidden Language We Never Knew About

Mankind, the only known language on the planet, can combine sounds to create words and combine words to create sentences. Scientists have been studying animal vocalizations to find out where this ability, which other creatures do not have, came from, but most of them use single-shot vocalizations, combining sounds. It is rare to create a series of voice patterns. Chimpanzees, which are especially close to humans among primates, are known to combine several barks, but no studies have been conducted to quantitatively analyze the entire bark repertoire.

So, a research team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany investigated a herd of three chimpanzees in the

Thai National Park in Côte d'Ivoire, with a total of 900 hours of audio from 46 wild adult Nishichimpanzees . I recorded the record.

Then, when we analyzed the recorded 5000 barks, the chimpanzee barks were grunts, hoos, barks, screams, whimpers, and breathes. It turned out that there are types such as gasping voice (Pant) that makes a sound while sucking. These are used properly, for example, 'Grunt alone is used when finding food, but Panted grunt is used for submissive greetings in combination with gasping voice.' Therefore, when the research team categorized these voices, a total of 12 basic units of beats were identified.

Further analysis by the research team reveals that the 12 types of barks are used in 'single shots,' two combinations of 'bigrams,' and three combinations of 'trigrams,' and how to combine them. It was found that there are 390 ways in total.

Regarding this result, the research team wrote in a paper, 'In the chimpanzee vocalization system, as many as 12 kinds of sounds are flexibly used as a sequence of one unit, digraph, or triplet or more, and hundreds of different meanings. It may be possible to encode a structure that is considerably smaller than the infinite combination of sentences that human language can produce, but more than was thought of as a traditional primate vocal system. I presented it. '

The research team is planning to investigate what the combination of voices found this time means and whether it is possible to expand the range of topics that chimpanzees use for communication.

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1l_ks