(ORDO NEWS) — Among primates, not only man loves drum music: our closest relatives from time to time also let all the inhabitants of the jungle listen to how they beat their palms on tree roots. Each animal has its own unique “style”, which makes it easy to distinguish chimpanzees from their relatives.
Many animals make sounds that we traditionally think of as music, such as birdsong. However, for most species, such sounds are something that nature itself has laid in them, a tool for survival, while African chimpanzees learn to play on tree roots for their own pleasure.
So far, most research on chimpanzee culture a set of skills not genetically inherited but transmitted through training has focused on foraging and tool-making skills, while much less attention has been paid to their musical talents.
Now there is evidence that great apes do not just play peculiar musical instruments: they also do it in a manner unique to each animal.
Observing a group of chimpanzees in the Budongo forest in western Uganda , scientists recorded the “parts” of seven males who regularly used tree roots to “drum.”
Using their arms and legs, the monkeys made sounds that carried more than a kilometer through the rainforest.
Each animal had its own “style”, and after a few weeks of observation, the researchers could distinguish a male named Tristan, who was characterized by very fast single blows “in the style of John Bonham ”, from Alpha or Ila, who liked to hit the roots with two palms simultaneously.
Scientists suggest that “drumming” serves as a kind of social network, allowing traveling chimpanzees to communicate with each other and look for relatives.
Going forward, the researchers plan to study other groups of chimpanzees, both nearby and distant, to understand how widespread the “drummer culture” among the monkeys is.
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