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New bioacoustic article in Naturwissenschaften

Subject: New bioacoustic article in Naturwissenschaften
From: "Sonja Amoser" <>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 10:12:02 +0100
Nicola Rehn, Olga A. Filatova, John W. Durban & Andrew D. Foote (2011):
Cross-cultural and cross-ecotype production of a killer whale ?excitement?
call suggests universality. Naturwissenschaften, 98 (1), 1-6.

Abstract: Facial and vocal expressions of emotion have been found in a
number of social mammal species and are thought to have evolved to aid
social communication. There has been much debate about whether such signals
are culturally inherited or are truly biologically innate. Evidence for the
innateness of such signals can come from cross-cultural studies. Previous
studies have identified a vocalisation (the V4 or ?excitement? call)
associated with high arousal behaviours in a population of killer whales in
British Columbia, Canada. In this study, we compared recordings from three
different socially and reproductively isolated ecotypes of killer whales,
including five vocal clans of one ecotype, each clan having discrete
culturally transmitted vocal traditions. The V4 call was found in recordings
of each ecotype and each vocal clan. Nine independent observers reproduced
our classification of the V4 call from each population with high
inter-observer agreement. Our results suggest the V4 call may be universal
in Pacific killer whale populations and that transmission of this call is
independent of cultural tradition or ecotype. We argue that such
universality is more consistent with an innate vocalisation than one
acquired through social learning and may be linked to its apparent function
of motivational expression.

For reprints please contact Nicola Rehn (email: 

Kind regards

Sonja Amoser

Dr. Sonja Amoser
Steinrieglstraße 286
3400 Weidlingbach

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