, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 397-412

Voiceprint identification and its application to sociological studies of wild Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata yakui)

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Abstract

Japanese monkeys often exchange the particular vocal sound, “coo,” especially when they feed or move as a group. It was considered that the “coo” sound had no positive social meaning, perhaps because the “coo” sound network and its function were hidden behind other behavioral observations. For identification of the vocalizer only from hearing the “coo” sound, three phonetic values, i.e., the “fundamental,” “duration,” and “formants,” plus other characteristics were used as indices of voiceprints. The results indicated that these were effective for identifying the vocalizer in two-thirds of the adults in the study troop which was composed of 12 adults and 16 immature members. The “coo” sound exchange network among the troop members (adults) was drawn on the basis of the voiceprint identification. The network showed three characteristics as follows: (1) matriarchs of the kin-groups frequently exchanged “coo” sounds with each other; (2) the other females exchanged “coo” sounds mostly within their own kin-groups; and (3) males seldom participated in the “coo” sound exchange. This suggests that “coo” sound exchange plays a central role for the matriarch of kin-groups in binding each kin-group and, ultimately, in binding all members together into an organized troop.