A team of scientists has found that wild bonobos (Pan paniscus), our closest living primate relatives, communicate in a similar manner to human babies.
The team, led by Dr Zanna Clay from the University of Birmingham, UK, found that bonobos produce a high-pitched call type, known as the ‘peep’, across a range of positive, negative and neutral situations, such as during feeding, travel, rest, aggression, alarm, nesting and grooming. These peep calls are short in duration and produced with a closed mouth.
The scientists looked at the acoustic structure and found that the calls did not vary acoustically between neutral and positive contexts.
It is this similarity in calls made across different emotional contexts that echo the similarities found in human infant vocalizations.
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