Lar gibbon is a kind of little monkey. Scientists do Long Research into the way these animals “talk” and “sing” to each other, as this can help us understand the origins of human language.
In this research, the scientists wondered how the rhythm arose and what is its function. They recorded 215 recordings of twelve gibbons in sanctuaries and zoos in Thailand and Italy.
On all of those recordings, gibbons sing. In doing so, they used a specific rhythm, say the researchers. They saw similarities to percussion in the music people make.
For example, there is a “rhythmic interplay” when two monkeys sing. If one monkey plays a certain tune, the other monkey responds to it. And while the monkey still sings in very different ways on its own, this becomes less variable when the animal sings with another animal.
The method of singing also differed between male and female monkeys. For example, male gibbons sing among themselves differently from a duet with a female.
According to the researchers, percussion appears to have a social function. If the animals in such a pair adopt the same rhythm, it will lead to a strengthening of their mutual bonds.
The researchers note that physical causes may also play a role. Singing such a song takes a lot of energy. They saw that monkeys sing on their own longer and more variedly on average. In duets, it may be more appropriate to control each other’s tempo to reduce fatigue.
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