The acoustic features of vervet monkey alarm calls

J Acoust Soc Am. 1988 May;83(5):1927-35. doi: 10.1121/1.396477.


Vervet monkeys routinely produce semantic alarm calls upon detection of various predators encountered in their natural environment. Two of these calls, snake and eagle alarms, were analyzed using digital signal processing techniques in order to identify potentially distinctive acoustic cues. Distinctive cues were sought in the periodicity of the source waveform associated with each call type, the probable vocal tract filtering functions, and in temporal patterning. Results were equivocal with respect to source periodicity, but a variety of distinguishing features were found in both supralaryngeal filtering and timing. These data provide a basis for psychoacoustic perceptual testing with vervets as subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cues / physiology
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Psychoacoustics*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*