Language evolution: Semantic combinations in primate calls

  title={Language evolution: Semantic combinations in primate calls},
  author={Kate Arnold and Klaus Zuberb{\"u}hler},
Syntax sets human language apart from other natural communication systems, although its evolutionary origins are obscure. Here we show that free-ranging putty-nosed monkeys combine two vocalizations into different call sequences that are linked to specific external events, such as the presence of a predator and the imminent movement of the group. Our findings indicate that non-human primates can combine calls into higher-order sequences that have a particular meaning. 

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