CAPUCHIN MONKEYS-Calls

We’re listening to the sounds of Capuchin monkeys– small, social primates that live in the trees of the Venezuelan rain forest. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

“What’s most common as you listen to the monkeys go through the forest is what I call a contact call. And it’s just a little coo or almost a catlike mew. As a group travels to coordinate their movements and to keep in touch, ‘Hi, where are you? I’m over here,’ you just hear almost inquisitive little sound as if they’re asking, ‘Where are you? Where are you?'”

Lynne Miller is a Principal Investigator with the Earthwatch Institute.

“Now when the monkeys get into a tree full of ripe fruit they get very excited and they make the same call but it’s in a more sort of impassioned voice and I call those ‘food hoots.’ Now one of the things that this serves to do is that other individuals surrounding them hear this call and think, ‘Aha! Somebody has found food!’ So two or three monkeys run into a tree full of fruit, they start making these excited ‘hoo hoo” sounds and pretty soon, here all the other monkeys come and join in to have a feed.

“Now, why don’t they just keep quiet and horde all the food to themselves? What may be happening is a system of reciprocity. So that if you’re a big group traveling along and let’s say you’ve got fifty monkeys in your group and somebody out at the left edge runs into a fruit tree, well if he tells you about it and shares with you, that’s good for you because then you get to eat that day whereas maybe if you didn’t find the food you’d go hungry. But that comes with the understanding that tomorrow if you find food you’re going to be kind enough to share that information with him. So a group may have a vested interest in sharing information about where food resources are.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

CAPUCHIN MONKEYS-Calls

Capuchin monkeys in the Venezuelan forest use "food hoots" to spread word of their discoveries.
Air Date:02/08/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're listening to the sounds of Capuchin monkeys-- small, social primates that live in the trees of the Venezuelan rain forest. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

"What's most common as you listen to the monkeys go through the forest is what I call a contact call. And it's just a little coo or almost a catlike mew. As a group travels to coordinate their movements and to keep in touch, 'Hi, where are you? I'm over here,' you just hear almost inquisitive little sound as if they're asking, 'Where are you? Where are you?'"

Lynne Miller is a Principal Investigator with the Earthwatch Institute.

"Now when the monkeys get into a tree full of ripe fruit they get very excited and they make the same call but it's in a more sort of impassioned voice and I call those 'food hoots.' Now one of the things that this serves to do is that other individuals surrounding them hear this call and think, 'Aha! Somebody has found food!' So two or three monkeys run into a tree full of fruit, they start making these excited 'hoo hoo" sounds and pretty soon, here all the other monkeys come and join in to have a feed.

"Now, why don't they just keep quiet and horde all the food to themselves? What may be happening is a system of reciprocity. So that if you're a big group traveling along and let's say you've got fifty monkeys in your group and somebody out at the left edge runs into a fruit tree, well if he tells you about it and shares with you, that's good for you because then you get to eat that day whereas maybe if you didn't find the food you'd go hungry. But that comes with the understanding that tomorrow if you find food you're going to be kind enough to share that information with him. So a group may have a vested interest in sharing information about where food resources are."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.