Investigating Individual Vocal Signatures and Small-Scale Patterns of Geographic Variation in Female Bornean Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) Great Calls

Description Back to outputs
Citation:
Clink, D.J., Bernard, H., Crofoot, M.C. & Marshall, A.J. (2017) Investigating Individual Vocal Signatures and Small-Scale Patterns of Geographic Variation in Female Bornean Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) Great Calls. International Journal of Primatology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-017-9972-y


Quantifying patterns of variation in primate vocalizations has important implications for understanding the evolutionary processes that lead to variation in phenotypic traits more broadly. Here, we investigated individuality and patterns of geographic variation across a small geographic scale (ca. 10 km) in female Bornean gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) great calls. We analyzed calls recorded from wild, unhabituated gibbon groups at the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems site in Sabah, Malaysia. We estimated 23 acoustic features in 376 great calls from 33 different females. We used linear discriminant function analysis to investigate intra- and interindividual variation in great calls. To examine small-scale patterns of geographic variation great calls we investigated measures of acoustic dissimilarity as a function of distance. We found that temporal features (such as the duration of the notes and the duration of rest between notes) contributed substantially to individuality. We were able to identify females based on their calls with 95.7% accuracy using leave-one-out cross-validation. We found no discernible patterns of geographic variation at our site; females with neighboring territories were just as likely to have similar calls as females with more distant territories. It is possible that we did not sample across a large enough geographic range, or that substantial interindividual variation effectively swamped across-site patterns of variation. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence for individual vocal signatures in primates and mammals, but further research is needed to understand the evolutionary mechanisms that contribute to individuality in gibbon calls.