, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 505–518 | Cite as

Buttress drumming by wild chimpanzees: Temporal patterning, phrase integration into loud calls, and preliminary evidence for individual distinctiveness

  • Adam Clark Arcadi
  • Daniel Robert
  • Christophe Boesch


Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) generate low-frequency sounds that are audible to humans from a distance of at least 1 km away by hitting the buttresses of trees with their hands and feet. This buttress drumming occurs in discrete bouts of rapidly delivered beats that usually accompany “pant hoots,” the species-specific long-distance vocalization. Individual differences in male chimpanzee (P.t. verus) drumming were investigated during a 6-month field study in the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast. Analysis of drumming bouts recorded from six adult males revealed significant differences between individuals in three acoustic features: (1) mean duration of inter-beat interval; (2) mean number of beats per bout; and (3) mean bout duration. Preliminary analysis indicated that individuals differ in their tendency to deliver drum beats in temporally close pairs separated by longer interbeat intervals. Qualitative examination also suggested that individuals may differ in the temporal integration of drumming into the pant hoot vocalization. These results suggest that there may be acoustic cues available for chimpanzees to recognize unseen males by their drumming performances alone. Drumming by Taï chimpanzees was also compared to drumming by chimpanzees (P.t. schweinfurthii) from the Kanyawara study group in Kibale National Park. Uganda. The Kanyawara chimpanzees appeared to drum more often without vocalizing than did the Taï chimpanzees. When they did drum and vocalize together, the Kanyawara chimpanzees appeared to integrate their drumming later into the associated pant hoots than did the Taï chimpanzees. These results suggest the possibility that interpopulation variation exists in chimpanzee buttress drumming.

Key Words

Chimpanzee Drumming Individual distinctiveness Signatures Dialects 


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Clark Arcadi
    • 1
  • Daniel Robert
    • 2
  • Christophe Boesch
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Institute of ZoologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of ZoologyUniversity of BaselSwitzerland

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