17 June 2020 12h02
Humans are able to decipher the cries of the chimpanzees
PARIS — The cries of a chimpanzee, humans are able to guess if the primate is attacked, discovers the food, or undergoes a session of tickling, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
“For the first time, we demonstrate that human is able to deduct from vocalizations of other species, the contexts behavioral in which they were produced”, explains to the AFP Roza Kamiloglu, University of Amsterdam, co-author of the study.
To arrive at these conclusions, about 3,500 people, non-expert in primates, have been invited to listen to 150 vocalizations of 66 chimpanzees, and then to determine if the animal was in a positive context or negative and whether it was relaxed or excited. “The individual is in a negative situation, for example when it is attacked by another chimpanzee, when he is faced with something scary or is separated from its mother,” commented Roza Kamiloglu. The tickling and the good meals illustrate, them, the contexts to be positive.
“Our results show that listeners are better able to infer information from vocalizations, negative as positive,” notes the researcher, adding that “the negative situations involve danger and may be more important for survival”.
Among the participants, 300 were then had to link vocalizations to ten contexts behavioral defined by the researchers, according to whether they thought the primate-discovered food, was tickled or attacked by another chimpanzee, or if he even threatened a fellow aggressive or a predator… The other were asked to indicate whether or not the cry heard corresponded to a behavioral context. This for each context.
According to the study, “the results show that listeners were able to match vocalizations with most of the contexts”. Ability due to the fact that we are “genetically closely related to chimpanzees.