Vocal signals facilitate cooperative hunting in wild chimpanzees

Joseph G. Mine, Katie E. Slocombe, Erik P. Willems, Ian C. Gilby, Miranda Yu, Melissa Emery Thompson, Martin N. Muller, Richard W. Wrangham, Simon W. Townsend*, Zarin P. Machanda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cooperation and communication likely coevolved in humans. However, the evolutionary roots of this interdependence remain unclear. We address this issue by investigating the role of vocal signals in facilitating a group cooperative behavior in an ape species: hunting in wild chimpanzees. First, we show that bark vocalizations produced before hunt initiation are reliable signals of behavioral motivation, with barkers being most likely to participate in the hunt. Next, we find that barks are associated with greater hunter recruitment and more effective hunting, with shorter latencies to hunting initiation and prey capture. Our results indicate that the coevolutionary relationship between vocal communication and group-level cooperation is not unique to humans in the ape lineage and is likely to have been present in our last common ancestor with chimpanzees.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabo5553
JournalScience Advances
Issue number30 July
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2022

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