Flexibility in the species-typical songs of gibbons
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Flexibility, or a capacity for situational variation, is an important characteristic of gibbon vocalization—one which may be seen as necessary to the functional effectiveness of species-typical songs. This paper reviews literature reporting flexibility of gibbon vocal behavior in relation to reinforcement contingencies, the singing of neighboring gibbons, development of pair coordination in the duet-singing of siamang gibbons, sequential progression in the elaboration of organizing sequences in siamang gibbons, and “repairs” of organizing and great-call sequences. A theoretical framework to account for the development of flexibility in species-typical behaviors is drawn on the basis ofGlickman's andSchiff's (1967) proposal of the reinforcing power of species-typical behaviors and associated feedback and consequent stimuli.