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Acoustic allometry revisited: morphological determinants of fundamental frequency in primate vocal production
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:14 authored by Maxime Garcia, Christian T. Herbst, Daniel L. Bowling, Jacob C. Dunn, W. Tecumseh Fitch
A fundamental issue in the evolution of communication is the degree to which signals convey accurate (“honest”) information about the signaler. In bioacoustics, the assumption that fundamental frequency (fo) should correlate with the body size of the caller is widespread, but this belief has been challenged by various studies, possibly because larynx size and body size can vary independently. In the present comparative study, we conducted excised larynx experiments to investigate this hypothesis rigorously and explore the determinants of fo. Using specimens from eleven primate species, we carried out an inter-specific investigation, examining correlations between the minimum fo produced by the sound source, body size and vocal fold length (VFL). We found that, across species, VFL predicted minimum fo much better than body size, clearly demonstrating the potential for decoupling between larynx size and body size in primates. These findings shed new light on the diversity of primate vocalizations and vocal morphology, highlighting the importance of vocal physiology in understanding the evolution of mammal vocal communication.
Publication titleScientific Reports
- Published version