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Apes Found to Have Regional Accents

A group of researchers has discovered that crested gibbon apes have regional accents. The scientists studied the singing of over 400 crested gibbons in 24 different locations in Asia.

The gibbons studied live in the rainforests of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China. “Each gibbon has its own variable song but, much like people, there is a regional similarity between gibbons within the same location,” said lead researcher Van Ngoc Thinh. (Source: (Their study was published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.)

Gibbon songs are made to travel over long distances in thickly vegetated areas by having a single frequency. It was found the songs that were most similar came from species that genetically were very closely related. Identifying gibbons by their songs is easier than by genetics because obtaining physical samples is difficult, whereas the songs are constantly being emitted and can be heard from some distance. Also, the songs can help identify where the gibbons are from, sort of like regional accents for humans.

Gibbons sing songs to attract mates and to establish territory. As reported in the study, “The results show that the structure of crested gibbon songs is not only a reliable tool to verify phylogenetic relatedness, but also to unravel geographic origins.”

Crested gibbons are some of the most endangered animals in the world. Like many endangered species they face habitat loss, and hunting. Some are also captured for the illegal pet trade. They are the only monogamous ape.

Image Credit: bergeycm

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5:29PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012


8:08PM PST on Feb 9, 2012

Not surprising.

9:51AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

thanks for sharing

7:55PM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

Why should this be a surprise? Allegedly wise wise man has regional accents in all languages. They're some of our closest kin. Any questions?

4:35AM PDT on May 26, 2011

this is just amazing.any explanation,are they influenced by humans talking to them.some apes have televisions too.

8:33AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

There could be linguists among them, speaking crested gibbon, lion headed tamarind, bonobo, lemur ...

8:36AM PST on Mar 7, 2011

Thanks, very intriguing.

5:14PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Fascinating, thanks!

4:55AM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

10:11AM PST on Feb 23, 2011

How cool is that!!!

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