Language evolution: semantic combinations in primate calls.


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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@article{Arnold2006LanguageES, title={Language evolution: semantic combinations in primate calls.}, author={Kate Arnold and Klaus Zuberbuehler}, journal={Nature}, year={2006}, volume={441 7091}, pages={303} }