FunNature & AnimalGibbons sing with accent

Gibbons sing with accent

gibonThecrested gibbons(of the genreNomascus)are primates that live in the jungles of Asia, specifically in China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and, due to their environment,communicate with other gibbons by singing. Both males and females sing in order to mark territory and find a mate, andcouples also sing duets to strengthen their bond. New research published in the journalBMC Evolutionary Biologydescribes how the song of the gibbon can be used to identify not only what variety it is but alsowhat area does he come from based on his “accent”.

Researchers at the German Primate Center in Goettingen compared the songs and genetic diversity of 19 populations, including 6 species of crested gibbons, with their location. The songs of the gibbons are adapted to transmission in a forest whereby the transmission of energy is concentrated in a single frequency band, with slow modulations. Consequently, in order to identify the species, more than 400 song samples were analyzed using 53 acoustic parameters. Thegenetic diversitybetween species was measured bymutations in the gene encoding cytochrome bof mitochondria.

The four most related “themes” came from the gibbon species with the most similar DNA and geographic location, with the gibbons from the southernmost areas being more closely related to each other than either the North Vietnamese gibbons or the Chinese gibbons.

Van Ngoc Thinh, co-author of the study, concludes that “each gibbon has its own song but, as with people,there is a similarity between gibbons in the same place“.

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