How to speak monkey: The language of cotton-top tamarins - Anne Savage
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Cotton-top tamarin are very territorial and we noticed that when we played a Normal Long Call from an unrelated animal the group responded to the call very aggressively. They would respond with Normal Long Calls and would come running over to investigate where the sound was coming from. In the wild, we noticed that cotton-top tamarins would use Normal Long Calls as a way to avoid neighboring groups. One group would give Normal Longs Calls and the neighboring group would decide to either respond or avoid the group. We would hear lots of Normal Longs Calls at group territorial boundaries.
Now think about how you would count the remaining cotton-top tamarins in the forests of Colombia. These tiny one pound monkeys live 20-30 feet up in a tree and remain very well hidden. You can walk through the forest and never see them, since they typically run away when they hear a lot of noise in the forest. So, when I wanted to develop a method to help us count the remaining cotton-top tamarins in Colombia, I needed to think about how I could make cotton-tops more visible so that they could be counted. That’s when I had the idea of playing the vocalization of an unfamiliar cotton-top tamarins Normal Long Call to wild tamarins. When wild cotton-tops hear the Normal Long Call of a stranger, they run toward the sound making them visible long enough for us to count them! Combining the knowledge of cotton-top behavior, understanding their vocalizations, and applying statistical sampling techniques allowed us to develop a new technique that accurately estimates the number of cotton-top tamarins in the wild. See more here.
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