We Are Beginning to Decode Ring-Tailed Lemur Language
Hmm sounds and moans may give a glimpse into human evolutionary history.
Low-ranking male lemurs use the gift of gab to keep themselves in the good graces of female-dominated social groups.
The misfit male ring-tailed lemurs rely on two sounds: a moan to keep tabs on their group and a “hmm” sound to signal friendliness to the few other ring-tailed lemurs that will put up with them, says a study recently published in the journal Ethology.
Ring-tailed lemurs, which live almost exclusively on the African island of Madagascar, have a repertoire of nearly two dozen vocal calls. But the researchers say theirs is the first study to try decoding the hmm call in the wild.
The findings show ring-tailed lemurs display gregarious social behavior that is much more nuanced than many researchers assume,