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Sound transmission in the habitats of Japanese macaques and its possible effect on population differences in coo calls

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Recently, the acoustic features of coo calls were reported to differ between two populations of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui), namely the Ohirayama and Yakushima populations. We hypothesized that this difference may arise through differences in the acoustic environments of the two habitats, and measured the degrees of transmission of pure tones (250-8000 Hz) and the coo calls of the two populations in each habitat. In the Ohirayama habitat, lower frequencies were transmitted more efficiently, and the low-pitched coo calls of the Ohirayama population showed significantly better transmission than the high-pitched calls of the Yakushima population. In the Yakushima habitat, the degrees of transmission of the calls of the two populations did not differ significantly. Therefore, the calls of the Ohirayama population possess acoustic features that allow better transmission in their own habitat, suggesting that the habitat acoustics may be a factor contributing to the population difference between the calls.


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