Quick Search:

uzh logo
Browse by:
bullet
bullet
bullet
bullet

Zurich Open Repository and Archive

Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-42046

Townsend, S W; Manser, M B (2011). The function of non-linear phenomena in meerkat alarm calls. Biology Letters, 7(1):47-49.

[img]
Preview
Accepted Version
PDF
1MB

View at publisher

Abstract

Non-linear vocal phenomena are a ubiquitous feature of human and non-human animal vocalisations. Although we understand how these complex acoustic intrusions are generated, it is not clear whether they function adaptively for the animals producing them. One explanation is that non-linearities make calls more unpredictable, increasing behavioural responses and ultimately reducing the chances of habituation to these call types. Meerkats (Suricata suricatta) exhibit non-linear subharmonics in their predator alarm calls. We specifically tested the “unpredictability hypothesis” by playing back naturally occurring non-linear and linear medium-urgency alarm call bouts. Results indicate that subjects responded more strongly and foraged less after hearing non-linear alarm calls. We argue these findings support the unpredictability hypothesis and suggest this is the first study in animals or humans to show that non-linear vocal phenomena function adaptively.

Citations

20 citations in Web of Science®
19 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

67 downloads since deposited on 12 Jan 2011
4 downloads since 12 months

Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
DDC:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:21 July 2011
Deposited On:12 Jan 2011 16:30
Last Modified:27 Nov 2013 20:56
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:1744-9561
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2010.0537

Users (please log in): suggest update or correction for this item

Repository Staff Only: item control page