Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    A recent discovery shows that gorillas sing and hum when eating. Singing seems to be a way for gorillas to express contentment with their meal, as well as for the head of the family to communicate to others that it is dinner time. Food-related calls have been documented in many animals, including chimpanzees and bonobos, but aside from anecdotal reports from zoos, there was no evidence of it in gorillas.
    To see if they make these noises in the wild, Eva Luef, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, observed two groups of wild western lowland gorillas in the Republic of the Congo. She identified two different types of sound that the gorillas sometimes made when eating. One of them was humming – a steady low-frequency tone that sounds a bit like a sigh of contentment and the other was singing – a series of short, differently pitched notes that sounds a little like someone humming a random melody.

    https://www.newscientist.com/articl...mpose-happy-songs-that-they-hum-during-meals/
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Since humans and other animals (notably many species of birds) have created music, it's no surprise that our closest cousins, the two species of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes, the "true" chimpanzee, and Pan paniscus, the smaller and much more peaceful chimp), have done the same thing.

    The oldest musical instrument yet discovered is a flute carved from a mammoth tusk. The finger holes are perfectly aligned for a pentatonic scale and it can still be played. This flute was dated to 50,000 years ago. Since it was found in Europe, and was made long before Homo sapiens migrated to that continent, it must have been made by a Neanderthal.
     
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    When I was a small child, we were constantly reprimanded for humming at the dinner table.
    Now, I wonder whether this isn't an instinctual habit of primates.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I suspect that this was a much more pleasant dinner than one during which everyone was yelling at each other!
     
  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I caught a trio playing this.........

     
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    At our table, nobody got to yell except the paterfamilias, when a child did anything irritating, and he had a low irritation-threshold.
    We had fairly nightmarish dinners when he was home, pleasant, chatty and jokey ones when he was away. But we still had table-manners, which was not an altogether bad thing, compared to how many modern children eat.

    Seriously, though, I did think a bit more about this humming. Young children often do it unconsciously, when they're absorbed in some undemanding task or play - it's usually a tuneless, repetitive, very quiet little hum. I wonder if Christopher Robin did it, and that's why Winnie the Pooh does. Adults, similarly occupied, are more likely to sing popular songs - but just the refrain, over and over. Interesting.
     

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