Learned vocal and breathing behavior in an enculturated gorilla

  title={Learned vocal and breathing behavior in an enculturated gorilla},
  author={Marcus Perlman and Nathaniel Clark},
  journal={Animal Cognition},
We describe the repertoire of learned vocal and breathing-related behaviors (VBBs) performed by the enculturated gorilla Koko. We examined a large video corpus of Koko and observed 439 VBBs spread across 161 bouts. Our analysis shows that Koko exercises voluntary control over the performance of nine distinctive VBBs, which involve variable coordination of her breathing, larynx, and supralaryngeal articulators like the tongue and lips. Each of these behaviors is performed in the context of… 

Poor neuro-motor tuning of the human larynx: a comparison of sung and whistled pitch imitation

While participants who sung more precisely also whistled more precisely, sung imitations were less precise than whistled imitations, and volitional laryngeal-motor control in humans may be tuned just well enough for the coarse modulation of vocal-pitch in speech.

The origins of the vocal brain in humans

Vocal production learning in mammals revisited

The available evidence for vocal learning in mammals from the last 25 years is summarized, updating earlier reviews on the subject and highlighting the importance of quantitative comparisons of seemingly learned sounds with vocal repertoires before learning started or with species repertoires to confirm novelty.

Voice Modulation: A Window into the Origins of Human Vocal Control?

Iconicity in vocalization, comparisons with gesture, and implications for theories on the evolution of language

Scholars have often reasoned that vocalizations are extremely limited in their potential for iconic expression, especially in comparison to manual gestures (e.g., Armstrong & Wilcox, 2007; Tomasello,

Vocal learning: Beyond the continuum

The vocal learning continuum proposal is discussed, its limitations regarding the characterization of vocal learning across species and arguments for a more permissive view are argued.

A novel attention-getting vocalization in zoo-housed western gorillas

These findings represent one of the few pieces of evidence of spontaneous novel vocal production in non-enculturated individuals of this species, supporting the inclusion of great apes as moderate vocal learners and perhaps demonstrating an evolutionary function to a flexible vocal repertoire.

Divergent acoustic properties of gelada and baboon vocalizations and their implications for the evolution of human speech.

The spectro-temporal properties of gelada (Theropithecus gelada) vocalizations are explored, finding that adult male and female gelada exhaled grunts have formant profiles that overlap more with human vowel space than do baboon grunts and variation in cycle duration depends on the production modality.

Sequence and hierarchy in vocal rhythms and phonology

  • W. Fitch
  • Biology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2019
It is hypothesized that phonological hierarchy resulted from a marriage of a preexisting capacity for sequential structure seen in other primates, with novel hierarchical motor control circuitry (potentially evolved in tool use and/or musical contexts), and paved the way for phrasal syntactic hierarchy.

Evolution of vocal learning and spoken language

A modern, evolution-based synthesis of nonhuman animal studies that inform us about human spoken language concludes that components of spoken language are continuous between species, and that the vocal learning component is the most specialized and rarest and evolved by brain pathway duplication from an ancient motor learning pathway.



Vocal communication as a function of differential rearing experiences inPan paniscus: A preliminary report

There is little evidence of vocal learning in nonhuman primates despite the well-documented abilities found in avian species. We describe the vocal repertoire of five bonobos (Pan paniscus), four of

The Human-Fostered Gorilla Koko Shows Breath Control in Play with Wind Instruments

Breath control is critical to the production of spoken language and commonly postulated as a unique human adaptation specifically for this function. In contrast, non-human primates are often assumed

Western Gorilla Vocal Repertoire and Contextual Use of Vocalizations

This study suggests that although vocal production is highly constrained by morphology and phylogeny, differing social and ecological conditions can yield differences in the use and function of calls, even between two closely related species such as western and mountain gorillas.

Primate Vocalization, Gesture, and the Evolution of Human Language

It is argued that it was the coupling of gestural communication with enhanced capacities for imitation that made possible the emergence of protosign to provide essential scaffolding for protospeech in the evolution of protolanguage.

Production of Vocalizations in Mammals

A case of spontaneous acquisition of a human sound by an orangutan

An orangutan has spontaneously (without any training) acquired a human whistle and can modulate the duration and number of whistles to copy a human model, indicating that the learning capacities of great apes in the auditory domain might be more flexible than hitherto assumed.

Vocal Production by a Language-Competent Pan paniscus

This work examined the vocalizations produced by a linguistically-competent adult male bonobo (Pan paniscus) named Kanzi to determine whether they vary systematically according to the semantic context in which they are produced and determined semantic contexts based upon a vocalization's co-occurrence with predefined behavioral correlates.

Does learning affect the structure of vocalizations in chimpanzees?

Within-group variation in call structure of the captive groups was similar to that found in a group of wild Ugandan chimpanzees, suggesting the presence of species-specific constraints on this call within which different populations can converge on local variants.

3Vocal Learning in Mammals with Special Emphasis on Pinnipeds

This general model of vocal learning in songbirds was derived in large part from a series of field and laboratory observations on the song dialects of white-crowned sparrows carried out by Peter Marler and his colleagues in the San Francisco Bay area of California.

Primate Communication and the Gestural Origin of Language

  • G. Hewes
  • Psychology
    Current Anthropology
  • 1992
Wallace, Tylor, Wundt, Johannesson, and others have proposed that human language had its basis in hand and arm gestures. The Gardners' work with the chimpanzee Washoe, Premack's study of the