International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 559–583 | Cite as

Vocal communication as a function of differential rearing experiences inPan paniscus: A preliminary report

  • William D. Hopkins
  • E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh


There is little evidence of vocal learning in nonhuman primates despite the well-documented abilities found in avian species. We describe the vocal repertoire of five bonobos (Pan paniscus), four of which live in a seminatural environment. The fifth subject, Kanzi, has been reared with humans during the course of language training. The data indicated that the four bonobos living in a seminatural environment exhibit a variety of species-typical vocalizations. In addition to producing all the species-typical vocalization, Kanzi produced four structurally unique vocalizations that were not heard among the other subjects. These data suggest that Kanzi has learned vocalizations that are novel due to his unique rearing experience. Discussion is focused on the flexibility of vocal communication and vocal comprehension inPan paniscus.

Key words

vocal learning bonobo rearing condition communication 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. Hopkins
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
    • 3
  1. 1.Language Research CenterGeorgia State UniversityDecaturGeorgia
  2. 2.Yerkes Regional Primate Research CenterEmory UniversityAtlantaGeorgia
  3. 3.Department of BiologyGeorgia State UniversityDecaturGeorgia

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